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Adventist World Podcasts Profile

Adventist World Podcasts

English, Religion, 1 seasons, 141 episodes, 5 hours 41 minutes
Adventist World is a subsidiary of Adventist Review Ministries, from the Seventh-Day Adventist Church
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NEVER WAS A WAR (December 08, 2023)

It’s a tough time to be selling “Peace on Earth.” In the Christmas Shoppe at the megastore, elves and reindeer move briskly out the door. Nativity scenes in warm pastels are inner-lit with bulbs and cheer. Miles and miles of twinkling lights unwind from endless shelves. But who is buying “Peace on Earth?” At first, it seems a quaint anachronism, harking back to simpler times and well-tuned carolers. But now, we fear our neighbors will think us terribly insensitive to be flaunting anything of peace when kids are dying in Kfar Aza, in Gaza, in Kharkiv. How can the gospel still proclaim a peace on earth that is so rarely lived or loved? The night sky circling Bethlehem 2000 years ago did not proclaim the end of wars or banish human savagery. What angels sang—and shepherds hoped, and wise men followed, and a weary couple trusted—was that heaven is fully on our side. There was no war—there is no war—between the heart of God and those He calls His
08/12/20232 minutes 45 seconds
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WATCHING OVER US (December 01, 2023)

It’s a story filled with angels, and so a story filled with grace. An angel reveals to an aged priest that his wife will bear a son named John. The angel Gabriel announces to a virgin that she will be the mother of the promised Messiah, whose very name announces our salvation. Her fiancé—like Joseph of old, a man of dreams—is counseled by an angel to welcome the gracious plan devised by heaven to save the world. Another angel declares to startled shepherds that the Messiah has been born in Bethlehem, and the night sky shines like noon as thousands of angels celebrate the grace gifted to us. As the story of Jesus’ birth so richly shows, grace is always reaching out to weary, broken people like us. Carpenters and homemakers, shepherds and preachers—to each of us comes the good news that “the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen His glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). Every time we fear that we
30/11/20232 minutes 3 seconds
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FULL OF GRACE AND TRUTH (November 24, 2023)

“If you would tell me, tell me true,” a wise old man once said. “There isn’t time enough for lies.” And when we’ve polished all our trophies, and sung again our victory songs, we come at last to stories too painful to be false. Each honest story unwraps our wounds, our hurts—as well as those we’ve given. We grieve the loved ones whom we’ve lost—a spouse; a friend; a much-loved child—though some of them still live and breathe. We mourn the loss of innocence; we’ve soaked up toxic sums of greed. We laugh at violence and war; we cheer for “heroes” who display our poorest human qualities. We feel the sadness for what’s never fixed or mended or repaired. And so it’s not an accident that we know more of Jesus as a healer than any other role. He stepped into the broken story of our world with grace that made the lepers dance and unlocked tongues that never spoke. He gave the parents back lost children; He cast out evil spirits and refashioned sin-sick attitudes. He tol
22/11/20232 minutes 26 seconds
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ALL ARE GIFTED (November 17, 2023)

We are wary for good reasons. We’ve had too much of hurt, of wounds, of promises that didn’t deliver. Nothing “too good to be true” should ever be believed.  But grace presents us with impossibly good things—all backed up by the God who cannot lie and never exaggerates. “As far as the east is from the west, so far He removes our transgressions from us” (Ps 103:12). “A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you” (Eze 36:26). Was there ever better news? Can the God we’ve so much offended be the same who offers us a rich, forgiven, guilt-free life when we believe in Jesus? “In Him every one of God’s promises is a ‘Yes’” (2 Cor 2:20). Grace is the gift we’ll never earn from Him whose love we’ll never lose. What once we thought impossible is true and free and good—and ours. So stay in grace. -Bill Knott
16/11/20231 minute 35 seconds
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BEYOND BIOLOGY (November 10 2023)

Where does kindness come from? Nothing in the narrative of evolutionary biology can tell us why one human would act with compassion or thoughtfulness toward another. In a world where survival alone is supposed to be the highest goal, nothing disinterested happens. All human behaviors should only produce results for the one doing them. Yet kindness exists. Parents nurture children, and not only to perpetuate their genetic line. Friends do “unnecessary” things for each other—providing emotional support in grief or loss or change. Even sworn enemies surprise us by laying down their weapons to offer comfort to the wounded. The Bible tells us that all good things, including acts of kindness, grow from the kindness that began with God: “Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” (James 1:17). God’s enduring kindness toward each of us—for ev
09/11/20232 minutes 17 seconds
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PEACE AMID THE CHAOS (November 03, 2023)

How do you find a quiet heart? You won’t find it in a deep evergreen forest, though walking in the fragrant woods may give you time to think. You won’t find it beside a thundering waterfall, though the welcome sound may block the din of autos, trains, and planes. You won’t even find that quiet heart in the sanctuary of a silent church, though everything around you points you to God’s presence. Changing our location doesn’t bring the peace we crave. A quiet heart is the gift we receive through the grace of a loving God. “Since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us” (Rom 5:1). “I have loved you with an everlasting love,” the Father says. “I have drawn you with unfailing kindness” (Jer 31:3). “This is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Receive the pea
02/11/20231 minute 44 seconds
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GRACE HAS A FACE (October 27, 2023)

I bless them all—the friends who didn’t back away when I said clumsy, foolish things, or added insult to an injury. I bless the ones who held me in the grip of grace before I had an inkling they were doing anything at all. I call to mind the line of kind, consistent people who forgave before I knew how much I had offended, who didn’t hold my sins against me, or wait to even up the score. I thank the Lord who taught them grace so that when my life was stirred by grace, I had a living, breathing demonstration standing right beside me. Grace has a face—or faces, actually—one, two or ten who make the gospel come to life by holding, healing, loving, serving. They are my church, my backstop, my community. Because of them, I dare to do some gracious act that covers sin or heals pain. They’ve made a choice, and so have I. We stay in grace. -Bill Knott
26/10/20231 minute 44 seconds
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UNEXPECTED (October 20, 2023)

“I don’t deserve this.” It’s a sentiment uttered—muttered—millions of times a day around the world. Our deep, unyielding sense of justice is aroused each time we aren’t treated fairly by a spouse or colleague, when we get unexpected charges from the tax office, when we think that God or fate has given us more than we can bear. Deep in our souls, we desperately want life to be fair. But it’s also a line heard millions of times each day by men and women marveling at the offer of the gospel. And whether we’re correct or not to sometimes protest our bad treatment or unlucky turns, we’re always accurate to say in the presence of God’s amazing grace, “I don’t deserve this.” “God is so rich in mercy, and He loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, He gave us life when He raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)” (Ephesians 2:4-5). Grace never ceases to amaze—just because it flows from a God of
19/10/20232 minutes 8 seconds
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SAYING WHAT’S TRUE (October 13, 2023)

More than 50 years ago, a wildly popular book and movie gave us a proverb worth forgetting: “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” Despite its commercial success, the line ignores the undeniable reality that broken human beings are always needing to repair the relationships they care most about—and usually with the words, “I’m sorry.” For love to bloom, it must be watered by apology and forgiveness. And so it is with God. By our foolish, selfish actions, we’ve failed His rightful expectations as our Creator. We’ve hurt His heart of love each time we’ve wounded others with our malice or indifference. But the good news is still good: “If we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness” (1 John 1:9). Our broken relationship with God can be healed by a simple phrase: “I’m sorry, and I need You.” God’s rich embrace is all of grace. Restoration is one short prayer away. And this lov
12/10/20232 minutes 3 seconds
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BETTER THAN PLATINUM (October 06, 2023)

So, what’s the most valuable commodity in the world? If you picked silver, gold, or platinum, 10,000 brokers might seek your business.  If you chose palladium or rhodium, you know your precious metals well. But none of these—nor all of them—can light a dream or spark a prayer when fear and pain fill all our night. There’s just one thing that billions want, including all who never own—or see—a precious metal. That thing is hope, and it is found, not in the ground, but in the skies. Hope is the trust that there is yet another truth about our lives—that we are loved and valued and worth holding. Hope rises high above our brokenness to affirm that God is not finished with us yet. Whatever we own, whatever we cherish, we are precious to the God who gave us hope by giving us what is most precious to Him: “For this is the way God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal lif
05/10/20232 minutes 8 seconds
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THE ONLY HERO STORY (September 29, 2023)

When we tell our peers the stories of our lives, how do we shape the narratives? Do we tell tales of high achievement, dogged persistence, and clever strategy? Are we the heroes of our stories? Or do we speak of the persistent, generous grace of God that launched us with rich opportunities, forgave us when we repeatedly failed, and healed us—time and again—when we felt broken and discouraged? God’s Word describes the inevitable trajectory of the hero-driven, self-directed life: “Sometimes there is a way that seems to be right, but in the end it is the way to death” (Prov 16:25). Jesus offers Himself as the living symbol of the grace that gives our stories deep meaning and lasting value: “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). Grace tells a hero story, but it’s not about us. “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. . . . God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were s
28/09/20232 minutes 8 seconds
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ACCORDING TO OUR NEED (September 22, 2023)

If there’s one thing that heaven hates, why surely, it must be—adultery? Pride? Hypocrisy? Murder? Greed?  Would you believe “unforgiveness”?   Consistent with the grace He both lived and taught, Jesus saved His hardest words for those who refused to forgive the brokenness of others.  He wept for those swept off their feet by lust or overcome by avarice, and even those who hurt or injure others. But He offered little hope for those who wouldn’t show the mercy shown to them.  In a famous story, Jesus made His values clear: “Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?” (Matt 18:32-33). We only forgive others as much as we imagine we need forgiveness.  “If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful
21/09/20231 minute 58 seconds
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GIFTED AND GRACED (September 15, 2023)

“Lucky you!” we mumble when our rival’s putt drops in the cup from 50 feet away. “Wish I was you,” we grumble when our colleague lands the big promotion and the corner office with a view. “It must be nice,” we mutter when the car we can’t afford is parked across the street each night. But who is actually more fortunate—the one who wins a round of golf or office ladder-climbing—or the person who receives God’s offered gift of happiness forever? Add up the scorecard—tally all the perks—and there’s nothing that comes close in value to the new life we are given as believers. “Since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us to this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand” (Rom 5:1-2). It’s love, not luck, that makes us rich in grace. “To all who believed Him and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of Go
14/09/20231 minute 44 seconds
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BETTER THAN WE DREAMED (September 08, 2023)

Any faith worth putting at the center of your life must do at least three things. It must accurately describe the dark reality of our brokenness and pain. It must fully tell how we are rescued from our anger, pride and violence. It must show us a future we would want to live in. And so the gospel of Jesus Christ declares, “Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins.” That’s why the Father acted to rescue us from the rebellion we had chosen: “God is so rich in mercy, and He loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, He gave us life when He raised Christ from the dead.” And finally, the Father offers us a future better than we ever imagined—or deserved: “For He raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms” (Eph 2:1; 2:4-5; 2:6). Jesus says, “I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:3).<
07/09/20231 minute 53 seconds
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Until we grasp how much we’ve been forgiven, it will always seem unwise and difficult to forgive those who sin against us.  When we forgive another person, we abandon our leverage over them; release the debt they owe us; throw open prison doors. This is a graciousness we can’t summon from within: until we’ve received God’s grace, we have none to give to others. You can’t wring kindness from a stone, or from a stony, unforgiven heart.  But “the grace of God has appeared to all” (Titus 2:11), making possible our own redemption, and then the healing of our friendships, marriages, and communities.  Grace truly received always becomes grace given.  So stay in grace. -Bill Knott
31/08/20231 minute 18 seconds
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May I Tell You A Story: An Enemy In The Boat (July/August 2023)

“Papa, please tell me a story.”  That’s Cain, or maybe Abel, asked Adam to tell them a story, a story that will make the past more clear so they can face the future with greater certainty, courage, and hope.  It’s a question every Father and Mother has been asked by the “inquiring minds” who sit beside them in the light of a cooling evening.    Each month I imagine that you have just invited me to “tell you a story,” a true tale of The Creator’s love that will help you understand the past and so face the future with more certainty, courage, and hope. I breath deeply for a long minute, and then pour my heart out to you through my computer.
30/08/20238 minutes 14 seconds
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May I Tell You A Story: Just An Average Day (Oct 2023)

“Papa, please tell me a story.”  That’s Cain, or maybe Abel, asked Adam to tell them a story, a story that will make the past more clear so they can face the future with greater certainty, courage, and hope.  It’s a question every Father and Mother has been asked by the “inquiring minds” who sit beside them in the light of a cooling evening.    Each month I imagine that you have just invited me to “tell you a story,” a true tale of The Creator’s love that will help you understand the past and so face the future with more certainty, courage, and hope. I breath deeply for a long minute, and then pour my heart out to you through my computer.
28/08/20238 minutes 44 seconds
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May I Tell You A Story: A Red Three Legged Bear (Sept 2023)

“Papa, please tell me a story.”  That’s Cain, or maybe Abel, asked Adam to tell them a story, a story that will make the past more clear so they can face the future with greater certainty, courage, and hope.  It’s a question every Father and Mother has been asked by the “inquiring minds” who sit beside them in the light of a cooling evening.    Each month I imagine that you have just invited me to “tell you a story,” a true tale of The Creator’s love that will help you understand the past and so face the future with more certainty, courage, and hope. I breath deeply for a long minute, and then pour my heart out to you through my computer.
28/08/20239 minutes 32 seconds
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May I Tell You A Story: El Nanito Feo (July/August 2023)

“Papa, please tell me a story.”  That’s Cain, or maybe Abel, asked Adam to tell them a story, a story that will make the past more clear so they can face the future with greater certainty, courage, and hope.  It’s a question every Father and Mother has been asked by the “inquiring minds” who sit beside them in the light of a cooling evening.    Each month I imagine that you have just invited me to “tell you a story,” a true tale of The Creator’s love that will help you understand the past and so face the future with more certainty, courage, and hope. I breath deeply for a long minute, and then pour my heart out to you through my computer.
28/08/20239 minutes 10 seconds
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May I Tell You A Story: We Need To Make A Home (June 2023)

“Papa, please tell me a story.”  That’s Cain, or maybe Abel, asked Adam to tell them a story, a story that will make the past more clear so they can face the future with greater certainty, courage, and hope.  It’s a question every Father and Mother has been asked by the “inquiring minds” who sit beside them in the light of a cooling evening.    Each month I imagine that you have just invited me to “tell you a story,” a true tale of The Creator’s love that will help you understand the past and so face the future with more certainty, courage, and hope. I breath deeply for a long minute, and then pour my heart out to you through my computer.
28/08/20239 minutes 35 seconds
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May I Tell You A Story: When God Calls (May 2023)

“Papa, please tell me a story.”  That’s Cain, or maybe Abel, asked Adam to tell them a story, a story that will make the past more clear so they can face the future with greater certainty, courage, and hope.  It’s a question every Father and Mother has been asked by the “inquiring minds” who sit beside them in the light of a cooling evening.    Each month I imagine that you have just invited me to “tell you a story,” a true tale of The Creator’s love that will help you understand the past and so face the future with more certainty, courage, and hope. I breath deeply for a long minute, and then pour my heart out to you through my computer.
28/08/20239 minutes 8 seconds
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NEW AND BETTER STORIES (August 25, 2023)

Imagine—only for a moment—your life without the grace of God.  Every foolish act of adolescence; every spiteful, angry word you’ve said; every broken relationship would trail after you like dragging cannonballs uphill.  There could be no forgiveness, but only possibly forgetfulness.  All things wounded would never heal.  The sun would never rise on faith or hope or possibilities.  But we rejoice that grace has come to us in Jesus—that our stories are forever changed for better.  So grace always opens into gratitude.  We celebrate a rescue we could never accomplish because of what Christ accomplished for us.  And He ever lives—it is His joy—to intercede for us, to turn our painful histories into stories that will bless and lift the world.  So stay in grace. -Bill Knott
24/08/20231 minute 26 seconds
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WHEN THERE’S NO FIX (August 18, 2023)

A husband slipping in the door with a bouquet of red roses trailing behind him. A six year-old artfully arranging the remaining cookies in the jar to make it seem none have been taken. A believer creeping quietly to church to sit in the back row and promise years of future faithfulness. In our core, we hope to somehow appease those we have offended. We bring gifts; we rearrange the facts to diminish our responsibility; we promise to be better in the future. We assume that we won’t be welcome as we are. But when we meet the God whose rightful expectations we have most offended, He is nothing like the angry deity we expected. “For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him” (John 3:16-17). This is the mystery of grace—that God doesn’t act on impulse or through vengean
17/08/20232 minutes 40 seconds
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NOTHING TO OFFER (August 11, 2023)

Taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Giving money to a homeless man at the corner. Choosing fruit instead of ice cream for dessert.   All good things—but none will change your standing with God.  Rising at 4:00 a.m. to pray and meditate. Attending weekly worship services. Contributing 10 percent of your income to the work of ministry.  All good things—but none will change your standing with God.   “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God—not the result of works, so that no one may boast” (Rom 2:8).   The good things grace inspires us to do are not the things that save us. Our forever destiny is assured only by trusting in what Jesus has done for us by laying down His life to pay the penalty for our sins.  “But God proves His love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.  Much more surely then, now that we have been justified by His blood, will we be saved thro
10/08/20232 minutes 17 seconds
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WORDWISE (August 04, 2023)

Hot words, cold words.  Red words, blue words.  My words, your words.   Old words, new words.    Every day we arrange the 25,000 words we know in unique and highly personalized combinations. With words, we express deep sorrow and loss, as well as shining hope and love. We describe the past with words that show how different it was from our day, and we even invent new words to imagine futures for which no current words will do.  Words are the building blocks of thought; the scribbled bits of genius on a page; the last, despairing expressions of those who have lost hope.   And so, among the many figures in the mind of God, He entered human experience through the very language we employ: “And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen His glory, the glory as of a Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).   In Jesus are united the two great words we find impossible to keep together—“grace” and “truth.” In Go
03/08/20232 minutes 7 seconds
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BELOW THE SURFACE (July 28, 2023)

When we add all our compliments to all the things we wish were true, there’s still so much we’re glad the world doesn’t know.  Deep within, we know the truth about the real lives we live—the tempers that we can’t control; the people we’ve tried to control; the passions that seem far beyond control.  Our hearts are heavy with indictments. We break our vows; we hurt our friends; we fail to do the good we could.  “There is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?” (Rom 7:23-24).   And from the vast abundance of His grace, the Father speaks to our distress. “I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart” (Eze 36:26).   The promise of new life—within—brings all God’s goodness to us.  W
27/07/20232 minutes 12 seconds
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BEYOND SELF-HELP (July 21, 2023)

When we reduce our belief in God to moral tasks we should accomplish, we merely add another tedious volume to our unread self-help library.   Praying for the sick; giving to the poor; exercising patience with exasperating colleagues; forgiving those who badly use us—these are all lovely behaviors—and of no lasting value without grace.    The gospel isn’t an invitation to set our moral house in order, but a declaration that Jesus left His eternal home to live with us, die for us, rise for us, and—one day soon—return for us. “God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And He gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation” (2 Cor 5:19).   Before we lift a broken finger, or give a soiled bill, or try to move beyond our hatred for those who have abused us, we must hear the gospel’s kind yet thundering announcement:  “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gif
20/07/20232 minutes 3 seconds
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When hard rain rattles the window panes three hours before unwelcome dawn; when the first thought of the day is no brighter than the last thought hours before; when the staleness of unchangeable routine offers only more of the same, more of the rain—grace renews the mind. When we dread the icy comments in the cubicles or at the frozen water cooler; when the anger seethes while helplessness makes our haggard hearts grow cold; when the best thought of the day is that it will finally be over—grace renews the mind.   Redemption isn’t only for those starlit hours when grand and beautiful change starts happening to us. God’s grace accompanies us in hundreds of quite ordinary hours when children fret and spouses quarrel and nothing in our world advances our fond hopes for love or comfort or success. And so the gospel urges and invites: “Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good a
13/07/20232 minutes 17 seconds
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So let’s admit it: we are afraid because bad things have happened in our past, and everything in us shudders at ever being hurt again. Life’s all about negotiating risk, we say, and so we bravely sanctify our fears with strategies to hide the dread that we might end unloved and all alone. But Jesus says, “My grace is enough for you” (2 Cor. 12:9, CEB)—enough for all our hidden wounds and public failures, enough for all the times when we’ve concluded that we can be either well-loved OR well-known, but never both.  Grace is a healing antidote to fear, repairing and rebuilding whatever sin has poisoned, blighted or corroded. The worst that can be said of us turns out—amazingly—to be a gorgeous anthem to God’s never-ending, always-reaching love. So stay in grace. -Bill Knott
06/07/20231 minute 20 seconds
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GATHERED BY GRACE (June 30, 2023)

Whenever broken lives start mending; wherever someone is set free; when the barriers get lifted and the desperate hear good news, hope for new community is born. Frightened people long for holding. Lonely people seek for friends. Those whose story was forgotten want a place they can be heard. Grieving persons pray that someday they may learn to laugh again. In God’s kindness, mercy moves us toward the others saved by grace. What we need, their stories give us: what they need, our hands can bring.  “Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God” (1 John 4:7). Sin demands our isolation: grace invites us to a circle where we gain and give, and give and gain. Gathered ‘round us are the people who will hold us as God holds us. Find the circle you were meant for. Find the love that gives you hope. And you will stay in grace. – Bill Knott
29/06/20231 minute 49 seconds
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CHOOSING GRACE (June 23, 2023)

Our hearts are subtle and mysterious realms, swept over by the storms of grand emotions. Why is it that the same offensive words from the lips of a friend can be more easily forgiven than when uttered by a person outside the orbit of our love? Love holds within it the quality of grace, both when we receive it from the Father, and when we extend it to His children. God chose to love us “while we were yet sinners”—to extend His grace in spite of our offensiveness. But we routinely show that grace to only those who love us in return. The difference lies in God’s amazing decision to love the entire world as though we had always been His friends. He sovereignly declares that all His children can also be His friends because of Jesus’ sacrifice: “For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). “God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself” (2 Cor 5:19).</p
22/06/20232 minutes 21 seconds
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GOOD FOR ALL (June 16, 2023)

Does fear sometimes persuade you that you aren’t eligible for the gospel’s promises of peace and restoration? Consider then, the vast variety of souls who found God’s grace when they weren’t looking for it.  A Jericho prostitute. A leprous general. A corrupt tax collector. A woman desperate for a child. A cultured religious leader. A demon-tortured wretch who gashed himself.  A dying thief. A cheating king.  The list goes on and on, encompassing men and women in every imaginable life situation—the wealthy and the poor; the aged and the children; the slaves and those who imprisoned them; the doubting and the faithful; the obedient and those who broke God’s law with wild abandon.  “For God has revealed His grace for the salvation of all people” (Titus 2:11).  The Bible is, above all else, a story of hope for broken, wounded, foolish folks like us.  We were the people sitting in darkness on whom new light has dawned. “In Christ was life, and the life was the
15/06/20232 minutes 17 seconds
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We say our greatest wounds come from the hands of others. The parent who denied us love; the boss who took the credit for our work; the spouse whose teasing made us cringe—the dirge called “People Who Have Done Me Wrong” is at the top of every playlist. Behind each failure, so we say, there’s someone else responsible.  But God’s Word calls us to admit our greatest sorrows grow from the choices that we’ve made. We nursed our wounds; we hurt our friends; we shut our ears to conscience. We spoke untruths; we weaponized our words; we’ve reenacted all the spite we ever got from others.  “You who judge others do these very same things,” the Bible says (Rom 2:3). “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard” (Rom 3:23).  Grace helps us see what we’ve refused to see: “Do you not realize that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” (Rom 2:5). The grace that calls us to account shows us the way to full and free renewal: “If we confess
08/06/20232 minutes 3 seconds
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DYING TO FORGIVE (June 02, 2023)

It’s hard enough to admit mistakes when gripped by the conviction we’ve done something wrong. Our crippling pride protests the humbling of our hearts. It’s harder still when those to whom we should confess make doing so protracted, cold, or shameful. And so we usually delay in saying what we must—we postpone joy; prolong our reconciliation—because we judge that God is like that irascible uncle or overbearing boss who makes confession difficult. We imagine that a righteous God must want to see us grovel. But Scripture shows a Father running to embrace His long-lost son; a wounded lover continually forgiving unfaithfulness; a Saviour eager to restore, renew, and heal. “For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them” (2 Cor 5:19). Truth is, the Father is more eager to forgive than we are to ask His pardon. His grace flows from abundant and tenacious love: “God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world
01/06/20232 minutes 7 seconds
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GRACE AND CLARITY (May 26, 2023)

“Never mind.” “Forget about it.” “No worries.” “Don’t mention it.” We say the oddest things when someone apologizes for what they’ve said or done. You’d think from our replies that nothing serious had happened—that we weren’t, in fact, hurt, damaged or offended. We sound as if forgiveness is a great, gray fog that smothers facts and erases memory. But God never does. God listens carefully when our hearts are stirred to make things right, for clarity is the bedrock of His grace. “If we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness” (1 John 1:9). Grace never pretends that wounds didn’t happen or that our broken, foolish choices don’t matter. Jesus was “wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with His stripes we are healed” (Isa 53:5). And so the grace of God sees clearly, forgives swiftly, and restores fully. “O Lo
25/05/20232 minutes 7 seconds
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Grace is no bubble—beautiful but fragile—momentarily hovering—and covering—the story of our separation from the Father. Forgiveness isn’t offered just to give us light and hope, even though it always ends in joy and wondrous dreams.  No, grace is strong the way a father’s grip is strong—muscle strong, sinew strong, unyielding and unwilling to let go. The love you cannot earn is also love you cannot lose, for He has never yet allowed one outstretched hand to slip His grasp.  God has pledged Himself in language He cannot—will not—disavow:  “I have loved you with an everlasting love,” He says; “therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you” (Jeremiah 31.3). Though life is full of fragile things, God’s grace is never one of them. So stay in grace. -Bill Knott
18/05/20231 minute 21 seconds
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AS GENTLE AS GRACE (May 12, 2023)

As we learn grace, we also learn its gentleness. When we mistakenly believed that we could win eternity by toil, we had no patience with mistakes—our own, or those of others. We feared—and judged—all brokenness, as though severity might illustrate our fitness for the kingdom. If it was difficult, then it was good. But then the Lover of our souls announced His grace while we were mired in our sins—while we were, in His word, “undone.”  “God proves His love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8). Our foolish self-redemption project becomes, at last, the task that makes both men and angels softly laugh. We learn, at last, as the apostle wrote, “Christ is all” (Col 3:11). The kindness Jesus offers us becomes the gentleness we offer others.  In time, we learn how to repent of all that isn’t grace. So stay in grace. -Bill Knott
11/05/20231 minute 39 seconds
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“But I don’t feel forgiven.” Millions every day confront the gap between God’s promise to forgive their sins and the relentless guilt that drives them to despair. We trust the truth of our emotions elsewhere: why not here as well? But a gracious God wouldn’t allow our forever to hang upon the slender thread of changeable—and whimsical—emotions. We love pasta on Tuesday, and don’t ever want to see it again by Friday. We adore a particular shade of green, only to despise it one week later. Just as it was necessary to trust God’s Word that we were sinners and separated from Him—even when we didn’t feel like sinners—so it’s crucial that we trust God’s Word that we have been forgiven when we place our trust in Jesus—even though we may not feel forgiven. The apostle John learned this truth from Jesus: “By this we shall know that we are of the truth, and reassure our hearts before Him whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and He kn
04/05/20232 minutes 12 seconds
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UNLISTED (April 28, 2023)

Why is it we love lists so much—for diets, muscles, marriage, money—even friendships? “Six Things You Should Never Eat.” “Eight Stretches You Can Do at Home.” “Five Ways to Fireproof Your Marriage.” “Three Best Investments for Recession.” And even “Ten Ways to Know if Friends Are Talking Behind Your Back.” We want what’s big and daunting in our lives reduced to things we can accomplish. We cling to our illusion: each new list will simplify our lives; we can recapture lost control. We crave the magic of past centuries without the stardust and the spells. Aladdin’s cave should open when we master “Four Ways to Memorize Your Passwords.” But all that’s deeply valuable in life can’t be reduced to numbered lists—love; faith; eternity; serenity; and joy. When the crowd once asked Jesus, “‘We want to perform God’s works, too. What should we do?’ Jesus told them, ‘This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one He has sent’” (John 6:28-29). Grace is i
27/04/20232 minutes 17 seconds
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When you have the chance, choose friends who breathe the air of grace.  Grace doesn’t make them better golfers, but you’ll want their gentleness when you earn that triple bogey on the 8th.  Grace doesn’t make friends wise or witty, but they’ll know to put an arm around you when you’re hurting or discouraged, for God has laid His hands on them.  Grace doesn’t turn friends into counselors, but they can lead you through forgiveness when you’ve blown it big and can’t see daylight up ahead. “For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And He gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation” (2 Cor 5:19). Grace doesn’t give conversation skills, but they’ll stay with you—and not let go—when others would go running for the exits. They’ve heard God say in seasons of deep loneliness: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness” (Jer 31:3). Friends who live th
20/04/20231 minute 44 seconds
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If concerts lasted 60 days, the audience would be smaller than the band. If a book took 40 years to read, almost no one would ever finish it. We want the distillation of a life, not the whole story. We’re looking for the summary, not the entire sermon. We’re addicted to the soundbite, not hours of video outtakes. And so we speak of grace as an event, even a moment, that can be captured, imaged, even timed. “I got saved at 7:23 pm last Tuesday.” “God turned my life around in 20 minutes during lunch.” Yet grace is frequently a long and gentle process in our lives—at least a season, often a decade, sometimes an orbit of 50 years. We celebrate the moment of insight; heaven counts the long and winding road that led to now—a thousand times the sad trajectory of our lives was turned so quietly by love.  “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into His likeness from one degree of glory to another” (2 Cor 3:18). The “gra
13/04/20232 minutes 16 seconds
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THE RISING SONG (April 07, 2023)

The resurrection is the greatest turnabout in time, a reversal of such epic scope that all our yesterdays have been reshaped and all tomorrows made anew. From Friday sundown’s grinding grief to Sunday morning’s glorious light, the balance of the world tipped.   We were the people sitting in darkness.  Now we greet His rising day. Death and dying lost their grip:  life and hope came springing up—out of the ground, within the tomb, above our loss, beyond our sin. Because Christ lives, the world’s dirge will die away;  a song of love and grace will be the anthem of the future. Join in the song that never dies:  “The Lord has risen—so shall I.”   And stay in grace. -Bill Knott
06/04/20231 minute 21 seconds
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GIFTED AND GIVEN (March 31, 2023)

When moondust gathers on your boots, and you clutch a Nobel Prize; when you’ve led the Philharmonic, or you’ve rocked the Colosseum—you still need the gift of grace.   When you’ve made uncounted billions, and a tower bears your name; when the friends at all your parties drive their custom Maseratis—you still need the gift of grace.   When you’ve served the homeless strangers, and provided for the poor; when the offering plates at worship are all brimming with your gifts—you still need the gift of grace.   And when your sins rise higher than that 100-story tower; when the glitterati leave and all the accolades are over; when you cry out for some solace and your spirit craves for peace—you still receive the gift of grace.   “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast
30/03/20231 minute 44 seconds
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THE GRACE THAT LIFTS (March 24, 2023)

If—for a moment—all that’s unseen could be seen; if we could trace the prayers of those who lift our names to God, we would be stunned and overwhelmed by love. There is no night so dark nor circumstance so grim that we could miss the arcs of prayerful comets climbing toward the heavens, carrying our names and needs. God has His witnesses on earth—a parent; spouse; a long-forgotten friend—who lift their voices up to Him to plead for us—our health, our wealth, our wisdom, and our courage. And they are heard because they love, for God who taught us how to love is moved by even murmured pleas. The grace that undergirds us all is mirrored in a billion prayers—for wars to cease; for hope to win; for prodigals still far from home; for parents struggling with disease; for friends who wrestle with despair. We are more loved than we remember; more blessed than we can calculate. Grace moves among us, lit by prayer, to heal, to warm, to keep, to hold.  The lift you feel cou
23/03/20231 minute 53 seconds
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GRACE ONSTAGE (March 17, 2023)

“Write of the light,” the angel said. “The world has crouched in darkness for too long. The shadows multiply, as do the myths and monsters they invent. One sharp, clean shaft of light will welcome in the future.” And so we write and talk of grace, especially when shadows crowd our little stage, and curtains warn the play might soon be ending. Anxieties will have their run: calamities of every kind remind us just how fragile is our script, how inconsistent our direction. But there is One who holds the drama—and our futures—without care or worry, haste or fear. “He Himself is before all things, and in Him all things hold together” (Col 1:17). And by His own description, He is love—unbounded, unconditional, eternal. “In Him was life, and the life was the light of all people” (John 1: 4). He is “the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:17). When there is nothing good to write of us, the grace of Christ heals what is wounde
16/03/20232 minutes 17 seconds
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GRACE AND FEAR (March 10, 2023)

‘‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear . . . Each week, 10 million Christians raise a hymn in which so many puzzle at the words. How, in a canticle to grace, could anyone refer to fear as good, from which a useful lesson could be learned? But buried in “Amazing Grace” is a powerful reminder: the grace that ultimately warms and comforts us first makes us wretched and despairing. Grace cannot thrive without the truth, and the unwelcome truth will drive each sinner’s heart to fear—cold, clutching fear: “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard” (Rom 3:23). “For the wages of sin is death” (Rom 6:23). At the doorway of a new life hangs a sign that clearly states, “You were lost in your sins.” The good news of the gospel—of grace, forgiveness, and renewal—is only good in the presence of news that isn’t good. Your sin—my sin—however small or great we may imagine it to be, excludes us from the light and life of God’s eternal presence. Until we s
09/03/20232 minutes 12 seconds
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CONTAGIOUS GRACE (March 03, 2023)

And there we were, the wretched ones, disguising all our anxious pain with skill a make-up artist must admire. We hid the sadness and the fear through years of practiced levity, with words like “Fine,” with worn-out jokes, with changes to the topic.  But then the gospel reached our world with all its fearsome clarity and hope. And quick we saw that all our artifice was glass to the all-seeing eye of Grace. Somebody we knew had come to life, with joy abundant in their eyes, and gentleness in all their words. We watched new hope suffuse their souls, and saw rich playfulness return. Grace brought to life a wounded heart, and we began to hope that we might trade our dismal trudge for joy and peace and light and love.   In them we saw; from them we heard: “God is so rich in kindness and grace that He purchased our freedom with the blood of His Son and forgave our sins. He has showered His kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding” (Eph 1:7-8).  Grace mo
02/03/20231 minute 58 seconds
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FREE AND EQUAL (February 24, 2023)

As children, we would loudly boast: “I can run faster than you.“ “ I have more toys than you.” “I’m taller than you.” Not much has changed. Now all grown-up, we quietly still boast:  “I pay someone to do my running for me.” “I have the bigger toys.” “I’m thinner/fitter/wealthier.” We gain our value by comparing ourselves to those without acquired or natural advantages. We revel in what DNA or ancestors have lent us for a moment.  But Jesus offers each of us a gift for which no bragging is allowed:  “By grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— not the result of works, so that no one may boast” (Eph 2:8-9). No leap of faith is measured. No marathon of duty gets us closer to the goal. No list of good things done—or bad things left undone—adjusts our destiny. Grace can’t be earned, is unavailable for sale, and never is inherited. Grace is God’s gift, and free to all who take it. In God’s economy, I
23/02/20231 minute 53 seconds
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Why is it we find kindness in this broken, angry world?  Despite the ugliness of violence and greed, we still see moments of breathtaking beauty and compassion. A stranger gives a kidney to a dying 12-year old. A soldier shelters children terrified by war. A colleague holds a friend undone by stress. A spouse forgives, and pledges to rebuild. Not one of these advances some advantage. None reflect the law of tooth and claw. We do these things because we still retain, however faintly, the image of our great and kind Creator. His goodness flows through even those who do not claim His name. “We love each other because He loved us first“ (1 John 4:18). “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, who is given to us” (Rom 5:5).  The Spirit points toward Jesus who always shines: “And the light shines on in the darkness, and the darkness has never put it out” (John 1:5). So offer thanks whenever kindness meets you. But know the truth:
16/02/20231 minute 53 seconds
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THE WORK OF FAITH (February 10, 2023)

Staying in grace is hard work in the same way resisting the pull of self-congratulation is hard work. Our human nature loves to count: “I haven’t eaten chocolate for 12 days.” “I put 10 percent of my income in the offering plate at church.” “I’ve done five ‘random acts of kindness’ in three days.” We naturally crave applause from others, and most fatally, from ourselves. Yet Jesus urges, “Do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing” (Matt 6:3). Grace bids us put away our abacus, our calculators, and all algorithms of righteousness that start or end with us. The “work” of faith is learning to believe in Christ alone, and giving Him the glory for the healing of our lives. The grace that saves us is the same great love that changes us. We look to Him, and not within. So stay in grace. -Bill Knott
09/02/20231 minute 35 seconds
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COSTLY GRACE (February 03, 2023)

Just as there is no human life without oxygen, so there is no eternal life without the grace of Jesus.  All other theories, strong and noble though they seem, are grand illusions that overestimate our goodness and underestimate God’s holiness. No string of sins avoided, or good deeds performed with vigor even start to bridge the gap between our lostness and His law.  But forgiveness takes us where forgoing never can.  Jesus loves us far too much to let us go on fooling others and ourselves about the cost of being saved. Only He can pay the price—and He has paid it all.  We live with gratitude when we are sure of grace.  So stay in grace. -Bill Knott
03/02/20231 minute 21 seconds
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GRACE BELOW THE EARS (January 27, 2023)

“And what is grace?” the preacher sings. Then back five hundred voices drone: “Grace is undeserved favor. It does not stop; it does not waver.” The choir sings a great “Amen.” And everyone goes home. But has the gospel been delivered? More crucially, has it been heard? As commonly communicated, grace is an answer in a catechism, a distant theological abstraction, an idea we can safely leave alone. Yet grace is needed in the parking lot—at church or at the grocery store—when someone darts into the space we’ve waited five long minutes for. And grace is vital in the boardroom—and the family room—where pride and jealousy are real. And grace is in a hundred unexpected moments when we are suddenly aware that we are loved—that broken, hurting folks like us—are precious to the God who made us and redeemed us. “He is so rich in kindness and grace that He purchased our freedom with the blood of His Son and forgave our sins” (Eph 1:7). If grace is only cognit
27/01/20232 minutes 21 seconds
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THE CHAIN OF GRACE (January 20, 2023)

If you are a believer, then you learned Christ from another believer. Your story—ups and downs and still unfinished—is still a testament to grace. Someone loved you for no reason. Someone taught you the reality of the unseen world. Someone shared with you the power and efficacy of prayer. Someone built the confidence you have in Him who holds all things together. Your shiny faith is the new link in a centuries-old chain of sharing that began when fishermen and tax collectors dropped nets and coins to follow after Jesus. So pause today to thank the risen Lord for grace that came to you through kindness from a modern-day disciple. And then, be like the one who shared their faith with you. Keep adding links: keep adding hope. For this chain is the symbol of unfettered joy and freedom. And stay in grace. -Bill Knott
20/01/20231 minute 35 seconds
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THE MASTER MOSAIC (January 13, 2023)

The broken fragments of our days are red and ragged, wet with tears. The job ungained; the love undone; the hard, dull ache of illness in the body or the soul. We see no pattern in the pain; we find no solace in the rain.  But there is One with cosmic grace who sees each piece for what it shows of His uncanny and redeeming power. And in the long, slow masterpiece He builds, He fits the fragments of our hours with skill so great and eye so fine that even we, unlucky we, will call it good, will call it fair. “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them” (Rom 8:28).  For what we come to call our “faith” will trace what unfaith never sees—that there is meaning in the picture—that what we thought our greatest grief has now become His center stone. God finds a use for every chip; there is no waste in all His artistry. “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisd
12/01/20232 minutes 8 seconds
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GRACE IN THE VOYAGE (January 06, 2023)

And so we launch out on the ocean of the year, presuming that the wind filling our sails will carry us to joy and not disaster. We’ve made ourselves shipshape, or so we say. We’ve thrown a handful of bad habits overboard; resolved to never navigate in fog; promised ourselves that, for the first time in forever, we’ll stay steady—patient—with the wheel. We think the future, like the rudder, is firmly in our hands. But who can fathom what the new year brings? There are uncertainties much deeper than the weather—of gain and loss, of pain and growth, of racing days and windless days. As the psalmist said centuries ago, “We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing. We heap up wealth, not knowing who will spend it. And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in You” (Psa 39:6-7). So trust the navigation of your life to the One who “made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them” (Ex 20:11). He needs no North Star, nor a Sout
05/01/20232 minutes 22 seconds
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WALKING ACROSS THE LINE (December 30, 2022)

            The waning days of this old year remind us we ought never walk alone. We need three things to end December: forgiveness for the wrongs we’ve done; the healing of our wounded memories; assurances that we will have safe company in days and miles ahead.             The gospel tells us we have all of these in Jesus. His blood alone removes our shame and stains. His reconciliation shields us from hard-earned, high-priced bitterness. His promise to stay with us—in every hour, in every age—gives courage on dark nights, and lifts our hearts when we can’t know the future.             By grace, we walk away from sins—our sins, and those done to us through the pettiness or animus of others. By grace, we lose the need to sanctify our scars, or grimly tell our tales of injury. By grace, we stretch a hand into the as-yet-unknown future—and discover, to our joy, that we are grasped and held and loved and valued by the Lord who walks beside us. We dare not make this
29/12/20222 minutes 31 seconds
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NO BETTER GIFT (December 23, 2022)

When poets have run out of words, and composers call no melodies to mind; when preachers have re-told the old, familiar story; when massive choirs have sung the final hallelujah—there still will be a mystery at the center of it all. Grace moved a God of love to do what is unthinkable to us—to surrender all His privileges and power; constrict his vast galactic reach—to enter our tight time and space, and share our mud and feel our pain. Describe it, sing it, preach it if you can, but nothing but the love of God explains the grace of God. “Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of our religion” (1 Tim 3:16). The gifts we share on Christmas Day are, at their best, dull mirrors of a gift only our God could give. Only He who fills eternity could give a life that lasts forever. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish but may have eternal life” (John 3:16). Hidden in the boxes and the bows are gadgets
23/12/20222 minutes 40 seconds
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THE CERTAINTIES OF GRACE (December 16, 2022)

We are not wise like magi,  Or powerful like Herod. And few can claim nobility  By birth or social climbing.  But God—this Child who sleeps in straw— Has chosen us to worship at His cradle.  So we rejoice in commonness;  We gladly play the fool for Him.  For we have glimpsed in Bethlehem The power that holds all things together— The love that seeks us out, surrounds us, will not let us go.  We stand in warm, strong light that cannot be extinguished; “For the light shines in the darkness, And the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5). We revel in the victories grace has won, Is winning, And will win.  There is no doubt—nor can there be—about the final outcome. So come, now:  bend the knee. Lean forward with a glowing heart.  This is an hour for adoration.   And stay in grace. -Bill Knott
15/12/20221 minute 35 seconds
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NO STRINGS ATTACHED (December 09, 2022)

We trade our gifts on Christmas Eve, or Christmas morn, or some convenient holiday. We wait to see a grateful smile, or wide-eyed wonder on a child’s face—all quietly aware our turn is next: the next gift will be handed us. And though this pageant brings us joy, and warms our hearts, we dare not say it represents the gospel, even though it’s full of gifts. Our calculations typically are tuned to give of equal value. We won’t embarrass others with extravagance that they can’t match, nor do we like the debt we feel when we receive “too much.” But heaven gave extravagantly when heaven gave us Jesus. He came with nothing in His hands but everything—all riches—in His heart. His greatest joy is in our joy—and in our inability to trade Him anything in return. Grace is a gift we cannot earn, and don’t deserve, and can’t repay. We don’t make things “even” by obedience, or costly sums, or kindly deeds that lessen obligation. He who “owns the cattle on a thousand hills”—an
09/12/20222 minutes 19 seconds
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GRACE THAT LIFTS (December 02, 2022)

“Away in a manger No crib for His bed . . .” It staggers imagination that the Lord of life, the Creator of all that is, found His first bed neither in a warmed obstetrics ward nor in a baby’s well-built crib. His reality was far more primitive than all the gilded mangers which adorn displays in churches or millions of homes this Christmas. The manger in which Jesus slept His first hour was almost certainly a shallow bowl carved into the rock floor of a cave or lean-to shelter—quite literally, a hole in the ground from which the livestock ate. It was the lowest of low places, the symbol of how low grace will stoop to live with us and be one of us. And you will recall that at the other end of His life, Jesus was—temporarily—laid in another hole in the ground—a tomb carved from the rock face of a cliff. There is a special symmetry in this, for grace seeks out “the lowly and despised things of this world” (1 Cor 1:28) to illustrate that no one is beneath the
01/12/20222 minutes 5 seconds
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GRACE AT THE GATES (November 25, 2022)

The act of giving thanks—whispered at each common meal, or once a year at family dinners on big holidays—is an early, hopeful flag that grace has come to live with us. For a moment—for one long, exhaling moment—we acknowledge the truth of what the apostle wrote 2000 years ago:  “You are not your own:  you have been bought with a price”  (I Cor 6:19-20). For an instant, the guard is down, the drawbridge open, and we admit that we aren’t self-made or even self-sustained.  The castle of our lives has always had a Guardian, a Protector.  All that we are, and all we have, and every structure that secures us has been given, not deserved.  Even what we say we’ve “earned” is undeniably built on gifts too numerous to count. When I say “thanks,” I confess that there is something—Someone—wider, bigger, and more gracious than any defense I muster or every good I do.  So we learn grace through gratitude.  And even as we teach our children to “Say thank-you,” the Spirit prompts us each to murmur
23/11/20222 minutes 10 seconds
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REDEEMING THE TIME (November 18, 2022)

In all those moments in between—when idling in slow traffic; or stuck in dull, unhappy meetings; or waiting for the sound of tires rolling up the drive—our thoughts revert to what we’ve missed.  Where would we rather be?  With whom would we prefer to talk? Why must our time be wasted? But the God of every moment—even dull, unhappy ones—offers us His presence and His care. “I have loved you, My people, with an everlasting love,” He says. (Jer 31:3). “Be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt 28:20). “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (Matt 11:28). The grace of God is still our gift when schedules lag and people disappoint and time hangs heavy on our hands. There is no hour Christ will not share; no hidden grief He cannot bear; no pause in all His patient care. Remember now how much you’re loved. And when you wait, then stay in grace.  
17/11/20221 minute 51 seconds
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GRATITUDE AND GRACE (November 11, 2022)

Thankfulness is all about our expectations. So long as we think we deserve to be healthy—physically, financially—and that a sick body or an empty wallet is an injustice done to us, we’ll never feel all that grateful when God heals us. If God owes it to us to make and keep us healthy and wealthy, why should we thank Him for it? But if we grasp the deep sacredness of living—that every moment is a gift from the Father’s hand—then everything in us will sing of everything God is doing for us. Every illness overcome; every bank account that didn’t run dry; every wounded relationship healed is a special act of grace. We deserved none of these good things: we’ve been given all these good things. “O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare Your praise” (Ps 51:5). So stay in gratitude—and grace. -Bill Knott
10/11/20221 minute 47 seconds
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THREE CRUCIAL WORDS (November 04, 2022)

Describe the life you’ve always wanted in three simple nouns—no more. Love, Power, and Excitement. Wealth, Opportunity, and Fame. Friends, Risk, and Excellence. Now try three more—all rooted in a common gift: Grace, Gratitude, and Graciousness. Grace is how we came to be—and saves us from what we have become. “God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure.So we praise God for the glorious grace He has poured out on us who belong to His dear Son.  He is so rich in kindness and grace that He purchased our freedom with the blood of His Son and forgave our sins.” (Eph 1:5-8). And gratitude is an intelligent, mature response to all that that God has gifted us in Jesus. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual song
03/11/20222 minutes 42 seconds
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GRACE BEYOND FEAR (October 28, 2022)

Fear grips our hearts whenever we assume that all our happiness depends on us. We know our brokenness too well: the foolish choices; missed opportunities; the coldness and the distance caused by hot, close things we’ve said. Unless we’re truly loved in spite of all we’ve done, fear is the natural response to what seems painful randomness. But grace proclaims a holiday from fear—not for an hour or a day, but for as long as we allow ourselves to be surrounded—yes, and held—by never-ending love. Grace is God’s reassuring answer to the question mark of fear. “I have loved you with an everlasting love,” He says. “I have drawn you with unfailing kindness” (Jer 31:2-3). Believe His love. And stay in grace. -Bill Knott
27/10/20221 minute 42 seconds
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THE GATE OF GRACE (October 21, 2022)

Those who most object to grace are those who think they need it least—who blithely trust that Jesus has a “higher” way of saving them. No deep repentance, wet with tears, will stain their history: they imagine righteousness will be an earned diploma on some future graduation day. But there’s only one way to the kingdom, and it passes through the gate of grace. No prior goodness lets us enter by some grander, private entrance; no record of abstaining lets us walk apart from those who’ve wallowed in the mud. The gate is narrow to exclude all largely self-congratulating selves: we’re either saved by Jesus’ blood, or we’re not saved at all.  So join the line where all must meet: walk hand in hand with all in need.  And stay in grace. 
20/10/20221 minute 42 seconds
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IN THE GRIP OF GRACE (October 14, 2022)

Ask the average person what they need most, and you’ll get a list you’d write yourself: a long vacation; a good night’s sleep; more money on the job; a guide for raising teens. But rumbling deep beneath the early answers, there is one that resonates for all of us: “Peace with God.” Even when we’re fed and rested; even when the raise comes through; even when the teens are sweet, we feel the ache of being distant from the Father. The residue of poor decisions, selfishness, and bitter words gnaws at our consciences. And there’s no beach or paycheck that can take that restlessness away. Jesus offers us the quiet hearts we’ll never find by searching: “I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart” (Eze 36:26). The promise of new life is always there—beneath our brokenness; above our fear; beyond our finest efforts. “Don’t let your hearts be troubled,” Jesus says. “Tr
13/10/20222 minutes 28 seconds
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FULL OF GRACE AND TRUTH (October 07, 2022)

On every day, in every way, God knows what we’ve been doing. The Father sees each burst of pride, each run of lust, each carelessness that injures others. “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight” (Heb 4:13). But seeing all does not mean loving less, for love begins with honesty. We want to hide from all we’ve done, and fall for the lie that God no longer loves us. But grace reminds us of the Father’s remedy for shame: “If we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness” (1 John 1:9). “God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And He gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation” (2 Cor 5:17). Grace is the place where we are fully known and fully loved. We need not hide, except in Him: “Your real life is hidden with Christ in God” (Col 3:3). “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Rom 5:20). Be seen. Be
06/10/20222 minutes 10 seconds
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When we’ve tried every other way, we give ourselves—with sighs—to grace. We miss its beauty and its joy because we save it as our last resort, a life ring for the drowning. We strive as though the goal was to use as little of God’s grace as possible, like salt on vegetables, or gas when heating homes. But Jesus wants our joy “full-filled”: abundance is the sign of grace. The life that could be yours can now be yours—without delay, without the misery and thrashing. God saves the desperate, but not because He needs us to be drowning. Enjoy His joy—beginning now—and lasting till forever. And stay in grace. -Bill Knott
29/09/20221 minute 28 seconds
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A DAY TO REMEMBER (September 23, 2022)

Exert. Perform. Achieve. Repeat. Exert. Perform. Achieve. Repeat The drumbeat of our days resounds until our souls are never still. We vibrate with intensity at moments when we most crave rest. We work in dreams: we nap at work. But He who gave to humans work sighs in the heavens for how we have abused ourselves: “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work” (Exo 20:9). In every week, the Lord who calls the Sabbath His invites us to return to peace: “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (Matt 11:28). Our hearts cry out for healing and for wholeness. And Jesus, who created us for joy, reminds us of our destiny: “I came that they may have life, and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). The endless stress of all we do is ended by one day of grace. There is a Sabbath in your future. Find the joy. And stay in grace. -Bill Knott
22/09/20222 minutes 10 seconds
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THE LIFE THAT COULD BE YOURS (September 16, 2022)

Unlike a hundred self-help apps, or misty-morning videos that urge us to find answers from within, grace offers us the real-world truth about ourselves while maximizing our potential joy. Grace announces the bad news about us and everyone we know up front: “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard” (Rom 3:23). But brokenness and loss is not the last word about us: “God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8). A power from outside of us is the only one that can quiet our distracted minds, restore our faith in the future, and set us on the road to rich, fulfilling lives—for now and forever: “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). And here’s God’s vision of what our relationships can grow to be: “The Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindnes
15/09/20222 minutes 33 seconds
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GROWING IN GRACIOUSNESS (September 09, 2022)

If grace were just for me, and not God’s gift to all in need, I might rejoice in my solo salvation and never be a different soul. But “the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all” (Titus 2:11)—for every individual, yes—but also for the whole of us as Jesus’ faithful way to live with and forgive each other. Grace truly known always grows into graciousness: the living shows we’re starting to perceive how great the gift is. When I extend the grace of God, I take it deeper in my life. When I forgive, I learn how much there is in me that needs the Lord’s forgiveness. Grace grows on us, and grows in us, and grows through us. So stay in grace. -Bill Knott
08/09/20221 minute 42 seconds
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WHEN OPPOSITES ATTRACT (September 02, 2022)

We make our lists of opposites: love and hate; trust and fear; carnivores and vegans. And sometimes we assume that the truth God knows about us is at odds with how He saves us, as if the Father must close one eye—or both—in order to embrace us. How can He keep the ones who break His law? So here it is—the good news in one line: “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ” (2 Cor 5:21). The Father sees our hate and fear, and weeps when we devour each other. He knows the awful truth. But when we trust in Jesus, He looks only at the love and goodness of the One who never sinned. “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus” (Rom 8:1). In grace, God is both just and merciful. Jesus took our penalty: we get His reward. “We have seen His glory, the glory as of a Father’s only son, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). So stay in grace—and truth. -Bill Knott
01/09/20221 minute 59 seconds
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THE CHANGES YOU CAN’T SEE (August 26,2022)

A friend you haven’t seen in weeks stops you on the street. “You’ve lost weight,” she says. “You’re looking good.” A workmate smiles when you return from two weeks on the beach. “You’re looking rested,” he observes. “The sun and waves do wonders for you.” And even when the warmth of compliments has faded, we realize that much of what is changing in us is imperceptible to us. We often measure our success by big, important milestones—projects accomplished; degrees earned; structures built; 10K races run. But what is truly changing for the better in us often shifts in micro-movements we don’t notice every day. Grace is at work in us even when we’re unaware. “And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like Him as we are changed into His glorious image” (2 Cor 3:18). As we discover how much we’ve been forgiven, we find that we, too, can forgive. Because we speak with open-heartedness to God, we learn to speak to others with more kindness, deeper warmth—making room for thos
25/08/20221 minute 53 seconds
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UNLIMITED (August 19, 2022)

There is no grudging in God’s grace—no “Alright, this one time” or “Even though you don’t deserve it.” He never makes forgiveness hang on promises to not sin again. “He knows our frame,” the Scriptures say: “He remembers we are dust.” And all our promises—like those who made them—are dusty, broken, unreliable. God forgives as only a Father can—more eager to restore the relationship than recall the rebellion; more focused on what we may become than what we did to wound Him. Grace flows to us because God’s heart is always love—unstoppable, without a limit. If you could quantify such love, then you, dear friend, would be much greater than He is—and that is rank absurdity. Receive this love. And stay in grace. -Bill Knott
18/08/20221 minute 47 seconds
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JOURNEY TO JOY (August 12, 2022)

On our best days, we fall far short of our inspiring goals. We say the angry words, repeat the wicked gossip, upset the ones we’re pledged to love. And were it not for grace, our story is an endlessly repeating tale of good intentions and bad performances. But grace upends what keeps us mired in our sins, for grace proclaims release from guilt, redemption from our foolishness. We get a new and wonderful reset each time we come to Jesus. The slate is cleaned; the record washed; the sins removed as far as east can ever be from west. This is the genius of the gospel: We need not stay what we once were. We need not be what we are now. Grace pulls us toward the joy for which we were created, and puts the hope back in our story. So move toward joy. And stay in grace. -Bill Knott
11/08/20221 minute 56 seconds
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When grace has lived a while in us, we wake one day to learn how much we’ve changed, how everything is different. We speak new kindness to the ones who mock us, or who irritate our peace. We listen well to those who never seemed worth hearing. We find our hearts have been enlarged, with room for those we feared or scorned. This is the sign of Jesus living in us, and yes, we never saw it coming. Christ changes every heart He owns, replacing stoniness with love. We get the double blessing of eternity and now—of seeing life renewed in us and all with whom we’re planted. His seed that grows in secret still does yield the sweetest fruit. So stay in grace. -Bill Knott  
04/08/20221 minute 33 seconds
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SLEEP LIKE A CHILD (July 29, 2022)

There’s no indictment in the legal system that cuts as deeply as the accusations of a conscience. Others will misread our motives; some will actively distort our record. Civil justice sometimes proves that it is blind when it won’t see the truth. But the voice within that calls us to account can’t be ignored, and doesn’t wait on jury verdicts. The moral sense God plants within each life “re-minds” us what the courts may never know: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23). “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8). No one—not you; not even the nicest person you know—has ever met this standard. But there is One who makes us now and eternally right with God: “If anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (I John 2:1). “He is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through H
28/07/20222 minutes 19 seconds
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SPEAK QUIETLY TO ME (July 22, 2022)

The bullhorn at the city corner blasts a warning to distracted thousands. Television ads amp up the volume to plant dish soap in our minds. The neighborhood reverberates with raucous party music far into the night. Does no one understand that quiet also wins our hearts? God does. To every sound-bombarded soul, He speaks with “the sound of quiet stillness” (1 Kings 19:12). When all the world is noisily demanding action—“Buy this!” “Choose that!” “Vote for X!”—His words are gracefully inviting: “Come now, and let us reason together,” says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isa 1:18). “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (Matt 11:28). Grace is God’s whispered invitation to the peace we so much need. Prepare to be quiet—and happier than you have ever been. And stay in grace. -Bill Knott
21/07/20222 minutes 5 seconds
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AFTER THE FALL (July 15, 2022)

We wince when we see arrogance up close: an air of unreality surrounds the child or adult who thinks the world revolves ‘round him. And secretly, we wish for some unscheduled “life event” to teach the lesson in humility they clearly missed. We mutter favorite proverbs: Pride always goes before a fall. That’s why the gospel teaches us to see ourselves with candor. Lest we think we are so different from our peers, God’s Word declares, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23). Isaiah long ago affirmed, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way. And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isa 53:6). Even when we cherish our illusions, “There is none righteous: no not one” (Rom 3:10). Talent, skills, obedience—none can make us right with God. Only grace revealed in Jesus can tell the truth about our muddled, bungled lives—and also bring our healing. “God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved” (
14/07/20222 minutes 5 seconds
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NET WORTH (July 08, 2022)

How much are you worth? The question seems urgent. Brochures in each week’s mail promote new models to calculate personal wealth. Add your savings, retirement account, the value of your home, and any salable assets—and you have a number that approximates your market worth. But the gospel fixes your worth to a different metric—the value an infinite God places on you. Whatever the asset sheet suggests, “Do not fear,” the Father says, “for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine” (Isa 43:1). “Do not forget all His benefits—who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the Pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy” (Ps 103:2-4). You are worth what a loving God paid to rescue you. Which is to say—everything. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish but may have eternal life” (John 3:16). Believe in the gift of grace. And stay in it. -Bill Knott
07/07/20221 minute 50 seconds
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GRACE AWAKENINGS (July 01, 2022)

For every “rock the road” conversion on the highway to Damascus, there are a dozen quiet stories where grace gently, slowly lights our lives—like sunrise. Don’t pine for big-time drama, voices thundering at noon, or temporary blindness. Your grace may simply be ascendant hope because you learn that you are loved: what joy to know that darkness grips your life no more! As day comes on and shadows flee, we learn by hours how to live free. Christ gives His light uniquely for our moments in the Son: there’s not a standard formula for how He wins our darkened hearts. We travel different roads and learn from many teachers the amazing ways He saves us. So stay in grace. -Bill Knott
30/06/20221 minute 31 seconds
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Go ahead. Pick any kind of life you want. Survey all faiths, all creeds: examine each philosophy. Take as long as you need to choose the life that’s best for you. But pick something that brings you peace when all the world’s on fire. Choose a life that’s free of guilt and shame. Select a creed that heals what’s broken in you. Find something that teaches forgiveness and restoration so you can live in harmony with others. Focus on the kind of life that builds strong marriages and happy children. Identify a faith that gives you hope beyond this earthly life—that promises you an everlasting joy. And you will choose the gospel—the amazing good news that in Jesus, your life is freed, forgiven, full—forever. Believers for 2000 years are witnesses to the best life human beings can know. Jesus said, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). Purpose. Meaning. Freedom. Joy. All can be yours when you choose life—and stay in grace. -Bill Knott
23/06/20222 minutes 2 seconds
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On our worst days, we desperately imagine God is but a stern accountant, tallying our sins with unerring accuracy. Because we can’t forget our sins, we assume that an all-knowing God can’t forget them either. “Lord, if you kept a record of our sins, who, O Lord, could ever survive?” ( Psa 130:3). “But the love of God is broader than the measure of man’s mind. And the heart of the Eternal is most wonderfully kind.” Hear what a loving Father actually says to those who put their trust in Jesus: “For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more” (Heb 8:12). The joyous promise of the gospel is the Father’s pledge to both forgive and forget our sins when we trust Jesus as our Saviour. Because of Jesus, heaven’s ledger reads “Paid in Full.” “This is real love—not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins” (1 John 4:10). God’s love for us is always greater, wider, fuller, deeper than we know. Rec
18/06/20222 minutes 2 seconds
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A HYMN TO GRACE (June 10, 2022)

It’s tough to sing of liberating grace when all we know are dirges about effort. We chorus qualities designed to keep us climbing (ever upward!)—songs of courage, risk, and faith—but then discover that we’re badly, sadly lacking in all three. Our promises are “ropes of sand.” Our self-talk leads to critical self-doubt. Unyielding guilt dries up our tongues. But there’s an anthem tuned to hope, and yes, it’s all about the Lord: “We have heard a joyful sound—Jesus saves, Jesus saves!” The finest songs begin with Him, and end with Him, and He’s in every note between. We sing of His success, not ours; of His compassion, not our plans. “Shout salvation full and free Highest hills and deepest caves, This our song of victory, Jesus saves, Jesus saves.” Stay in grace. -Bill Knott
09/06/20221 minute 45 seconds
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When was the last time you were content? We fight the question, as though it shouldn’t be asked. Who could be content as prices soar, as violence erupts in homes, in neighborhoods, in nations? When could our hearts be tranquil—in the long commute, the office politics, the deep exhaustion brought on by a dozen undone tasks? “We’re muddling through,” we say through pained half-smiles. But Jesus offers what we’ll get no other way. To those who take His offered grace, Jesus says: “My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life” (John 10:10). As He pledged His return, He offered something priceless: “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give” (John 14:27). The apostle Paul confirmed he had received that gift: “True godliness with contentment is itself great wealth” (1 Tim 6:6). Being right with God is the heart of all happiness. That gift awaits you today: accept it now. And stay in grace. -Bill Knott
03/06/20222 minutes 5 seconds
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“If God has truly forgiven my sins, why do I still feel guilty?” It may be the oldest question of the life of faith—the dissonance between our feelings and the promises of God. The lies we told; the cutting words; the heartache that we caused someone in haste or greed—all these we have confessed as wrong, and asked for promised pardon. But still we feel the unrelenting weight, as though our prayers were never heard. “Let God be true though every man be false” (Rom 3:4). The promise of forgiveness is underwritten by His vow: “If we confess our sins, He who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 Jn 1:9). “By this we shall know that we are of the truth, and reassure our hearts before Him whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything” (1 Jn 3:19-20). God’s Word about us is always more trustworthy than our words about us. Believe the grace that makes you right with heaven. And stay in i
26/05/20222 minutes 1 second
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WHY GRACE ENDURES (May 20, 2022)

If it were up to us, grace would have vanished long ago. Humans are hard-wired for anger, pettiness, and spite. Just look around: we keep a “righteous” score. We don’t forgive. We even plot revenge on those who injure or insult us. Our code is built on protecting ourselves from a world of people just like us. We do by nature anything that pushes us ahead, above, and to the top. “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,’ says the Lord. ‘And My ways are far beyond anything you could imagine’” (Isaiah 55:8). “God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him” (John 3:17). “This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in Him at all” (1 John 1:5). Grace flourishes because God rules above our broken world. Everything that’s good and kind and healing comes from otherworldly love that will not let us go. Believe in love. And stay in grace. -Bill Knott
19/05/20222 minutes 1 second
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BETTER THAN WE KNOW (May 13, 2022)

“Does God still love me?” When we’re alone and lonely, or in a crowd and overwhelmed; when the catalogue of condemnation keeps past mistakes before our eyes—no question ever seemed more urgent. Can God—will God—forgive our foolishness and pride? Is God, in fact, much kinder than we imagine Him? An old hymn sings the truth: “For the love of God is broader than the measures of the mind, and the heart of the Eternal is most wonderfully kind.” The apostle Paul confirms the point: “He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all—how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?” (Rom 8:32). “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation” (2 Cor 5:19). The last thing we need right now is . . . trust—trust that God is as gracious as He says He is. “There’s a wideness in God’s mercy, like the wideness of the sea. . . “ So stay in grace. -Bill Knott
13/05/20222 minutes 1 second
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GRACE AND CHANGE (May 06, 2022)

We get our guidance from the news—from trending headlines; self-help tips; from what we guess our peers are doing. “Be sharp,” we learn. “Dress well: stay fit.” “Be confident about yourself.” “Keep aiming for a higher star.” And almost no one says, “Be kind. Be gentle. Walk softly with each other. Lift up the weak. Embrace the ones who never can reward you.” Except Jesus. For in His grace, He plants in us a whole new way of living. Our deep absorption with ourselves becomes, with time, new seeing and new caring. “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Col 3:13). “He died for everyone so that those who receive His new life will no longer live for themselves” (2 Cor 5:15). Grace builds a whole new life for us—a focused life that matters for the here and the hereafter. Christ’s gift continues giving in our lives. So stay in grace. -Bill Knott
05/05/20222 minutes 1 second
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GRACE AND LIGHT (April 29, 2022)

The friend who quietly forgives my sin; the colleague who affirms when she could justly criticize—they make God’s grace more real than half a hundred sermons. Grace is not just a distant, theological abstraction—a ledger cancellation in some far-off reckoning of sins. Heaven knew we’d never “get it” until grace became a human being whose words and arms and uncondemning love quick-bridged the chasm of our shame. Give me one grace-filled Christian—holding, speaking, loving as did Jesus—and the future of the world begins to shift. Night is swallowed up in morning. Fear evaporates beneath the blaze of grace. On such warm love the sun will never set. And we shall all be changed. So stay in grace.
27/04/20221 minute 35 seconds
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THE FOLLOWING WEEK (April 22, 2022)

One week ago, we sang as though we never could forget: “Christ the Lord is risen today!” But Tuesday turned out rainy, in the skies and in our eyes. By Wednesday, all the grievances—both small and great—began their dread, familiar march: the pushy colleague who thinks only of himself; the rising price for food and gas; the memories of broken things that fill our thoughts when sleep won’t come. Whatever Easter meant has drifted to the margins of our days. The flowers fade. The bright, white light has dimmed. And so we must remind each other of the power of good news: “You were once dead because of your failures and sins” (Eph 2:1). “But God forgave your sins and gave you new life through Christ” (Col 2:13). “By grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Eph 2:8). “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Cor 5:17). Headlines rage and prices soar. Wor
21/04/20222 minutes 24 seconds
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He breathes again. The lungs collapsed by suffocating sorrow Fill again with fragrant air. The eyes still shut by Friday’s tears Now flicker as the retinas Anticipate the brilliant light that once was His. And somewhere deep within, This Man of Sorrows fully smiles With hope delayed, now irrepressible. All things are finished. All things have just begun. For one delicious moment, Creation’s sovereign pauses, lingers, Savoring the joy now rising in His mind. Uncounted millions will awake Some warm, spring resurrection morn— Convinced of love, inhaling light— And stepping out to life unbound. He who prophesied That we will rise Now gathers lilies of His labor. And He is satisfied. Christ breathes again. And so do we. And so will we. -Bill Knott
14/04/20222 minutes 1 second
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GROWING WEALTH (April 08, 2022)

In every life, a moment breaks when we confront our poverty. We’ve spent our last ideas: we’ve used up all goodwill. We found that hope was stolen by the accidents of time and chance.   And so we turn to self-help books, to watermelon diets, to exercise extremes that promise to renew our bodies and our minds. We chase the grand illusion that we can mend what’s broken in us by learning business confidence, or losing 30 pounds in 30 days, or watching soothing videos before we sleep at night. Somewhere—out there—must be a fix for all that’s draining us.   And we are then both wrong and right. There is no secret skill in us that will revive our hope—not wealth, or sleek physique, or social capital. But there is Someone who has pledged to give us His abundant life—where shame and doubting are no more. Jesus says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor 12:9).   “You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though He was rich, yet
07/04/20222 minutes 24 seconds
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HERO TO THE RESCUE (April 01, 2022)

Above the brightest stars of sport; beyond the galaxy of those whose notoriety is redder than their carpets; through all the rags-to-riches tales of newly-minted billionaires, we honor those who give themselves for others. They run toward fires, not away. They reach the helpless, sometimes at the cost of their own lives. They risk the worst diseases to care for those most ill. Jesus said, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). And He did more than run through fire or speak inspiring words. The Hero of all ages laid down His life for each of us—became the sacrifice we couldn’t make—to save anyone who might become His friend. “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Grace is the love that rescues us. It was intentional: it still is free. Now let the greatest hero carry you to joy. And stay in grace. -Bill Knott
31/03/20222 minutes 5 seconds
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AUDACIOUS GRACE (March 25, 2022)

We cringe for things that happened long ago—for memories so sharp and clear we blush whenever we recall them. Perhaps it was a foolish comment in a crowd, an insult that we slung and never dared retrieve. Perhaps the mind clings to an old relationship, where friendship, faithfulness, or trust corroded into bitter rust.   It is our shame, and just behind our bright bravado is the guilt that always trails after. A hundred times we beat ourselves, but neither tears nor lectures to the mirror can lighten what we carry.   Hear what the gospel offers: “God, in His grace, freely makes us right in His sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when He freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin” (Rom 3:24-25). He who had no cause for shame, who never knew regret for something He had done, took on Himself the guilt of generations. “For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of G
24/03/20222 minutes 29 seconds
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THE JOY TO JOURNEY ON (March 18, 2022)

“Help us to have a good time going to heaven.”   The child’s nervous prayer in church left all the worshippers amused. The urgent business of “going to heaven” is almost never paired with having “a good time.” We’re more accustomed to images of struggle, dark and painful pilgrimage, or battle with our vices—or ourselves.   But Jesus announced a different—better—way of going to heaven. “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly,” He said (John 10:10). “If the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed“ (John 8:36).   The grace made possible by Jesus will energize your here and your hereafter. If joys are never sweeter, if love is never deeper, if no laughter rises from your heart as you walk toward God’s new city, it’s a potent sign that you aren’t living in His grace. He who played with children and healed the broken and threw His arms around each prodigal intends your journey to His kingdom to be the best, most satisfying time of your whole life.   Grace makes t
17/03/20222 minutes 13 seconds
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GOOD AND GRACIOUS (March 11, 2022)

We call a cottage “gracious” if it boasts verandahs, sweeping lawns, and well-trimmed shrubbery. And what we mean is “easy on the eyes.”   We call a hostess “gracious” if her dinner party brims with well-dressed, laughing guests—if music is well-chosen; hors d'oeuvres are tasty, and waitstaff all attentive. And what we mean is “effortlessly elegant.”   But what when “gracious” equals “hard,” or “agonizing,”—even “deadly”? The Lord who lived His graciousness suffered pain and mocking, nails and death—to win for us a freedom neither elegant nor easy. “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly” (Rom 5:6). Jesus drank the bitter cup till it was dry; endured the shame, the thirst, the cross; and earned the right to thus define what humans mean by “grace.”   Grace isn’t easy. It’s embracing. Accept the grip of hard-won grace. And stay in it. -Bill Knott
10/03/20222 minutes 13 seconds
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BETTER THAN WINNING (March 04, 2022)

The boss rolls out incentive plans for all whose sales climb 8 percent. And so we dig into the numbers, the sales calls, the lonely hours when others sleep.   The piano competition’s crowning moment offers hours or days of shiny fame. And so we hide ourselves in practice rooms until Bach or Brahms is memorized, or nearly so.   A vision of ourselves atop the podium, hoisting silver-plated trophies to the sky, will make us sweat and strain till muscles scream. Nothing comes without effort.   And so we learn the wrong theology, believing in our core that heaven is a prize for those who pray or fast or do good works beyond the measure of their peers. “Faster, Higher, Stronger” pushes out the grace that saves through faith.   “I am the way, the truth, and the life” Jesus said. “No one can come to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). “By grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God” (Eph 2:8).   All that’s done will never ear
03/03/20222 minutes 5 seconds
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GOING OVERBOARD (February 25, 2022)

If all the guilt of all who ever lived was gathered together and thrown into the sea—it would be a wonderful thing. And that’s just what a gracious God still offers us: “Once again you will have compassion on us,” an ancient prophet rejoiced. “You will trample our sins under your feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean!” (Micah 7:19)   What gives a gracious Father the right to bury the record of our mistakes where no one can find them? Just this: our willingness to let Jesus carry on Himself the weight that has been crushing us. “This is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).   By grace, our shame will sink like lead beyond the reach of light. Our foolish sins can all be buried in the Mariana Trench. The pain we’ve carried far too long will decompose among the bottom dwellers.   A new and joyful life awaits us—unworried by our past; unburdened from our sins. We’re mo
24/02/20222 minutes 15 seconds
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THE NEWS WE NEED (February 18, 2022)

Rising oceans levels will inundate many coastal cities within 50 years. . . . Inflation is galloping at rates not seen since 1982. . . . Thousands of experienced teachers are leaving their profession. . . .   The drumbeat of the daily news is ominous and urgent. Millions find the rhythm of distress and looming disaster both bewitching and exhausting. We dare not miss the hot headline, the “world alert” from media that have addicted us to constant threat and danger. Stay worried, anxious, always vigilant. When all the world’s on fire, how dare we sleep in innocence?   Yet Jesus says, “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid” (John 14:27). The news that we can’t live without is good—indescribably good. The gospel is the promise that our broken, bungled lives can be repaired and healed by God’s unfailing love. “I have swept away your sins like a cloud,” God says. “I have scattered your
17/02/20222 minutes 24 seconds
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LOVE BEYOND OUR LIMITS (February 11, 2022)

It’s easy to be gracious to the gracious—to those who recognize their fault and seek to make amends. It tasks our virtue less than third grade math might task a physicist.   But let the one who wounded us be hostile or impenitent—and we will struggle like an eight-year-old confronted with a theorem. Our greater “virtue” goes unrecognized by unrepentant sinners. We bite our lips to keep from saying what we know—that all the fault is theirs; that we were always right.   So Jesus challenges us with God’s much higher standard: “If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them! . . . Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid” (Luke 6:32, 35).   And so we glimpse the heart of God, who in the chaos of our stubbornness still offers us forgiveness—wholeheartedly and kindly: “Yet God, in His grace, freely makes us right in His sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when He freed us from th
10/02/20222 minutes 29 seconds
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So what is love, but a way of knowing that the universe is not the random, unconfigured emptiness that made us feel lonely? And what is grace, but a way of seeing all of it—the little joys, the grand exhilarations, the trusting friendships we form—as part of one great plan unfolding for our good?   Grace didn’t start when we discovered it—when we were suddenly aware we needed hope and freedom, when the crushing weight of our mistakes was taken off our backs. God’s deep and saving care for each of us was just as true when we were blind to it, and when our arrogance declared we were the masters of our fate. In all those long and desperate nights we fought with life and tried to force the future to our will, God still was “compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love” (Psa 103:8).   The arc of all we know is toward the love that will not let us go. Behind each moment, in each day, through all the setbacks and successes, grace has been preparing us for
03/02/20222 minutes 24 seconds
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GETTING PAST REGRET (January 28, 2022)

We stare at photos of our classmates from yesteryear, remembering the giftedness, the ring of laughter, the endless optimism. We were—in no particular order—going to change the world; work for peace; be millionaires by 30; vault to the corporate ladder’s top; marry wise and beautiful people; take wonderful vacations. Life seemed an endless banquet.   But now we’ve learned how tough the world is. We’ve tasted bitterness and sorrow. We’ve watched great loves grow cold and vanish like the smoke. The competition still exhausts us—to get ahead, or just catch up. A thousand times we ask ourselves, “What might have been?”   Regret is still our lowest common denominator. By someone’s scale, we should have achieved more, experienced more, acquired more by now. And when we think of all we’ve promised God, remorse grows even deeper.   Which is why we must listen to the gospel—often. No one else is saying what the Father always says: “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as w
27/01/20222 minutes 43 seconds
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The accolades descend like tickertape. The headlines trumpet “talent,” “breakthrough innovation,” even “genius.” The penthouse suite no longer holds his new-found friends, who wait for selfie moments with the star. But in his heart of hearts he asks, “Am I really loved for me?”   Her performance brings the critics to their knees. “A soaring voice,” “a perfect portrayal of opera’s most tragic heroine,” “a triumph,” “a revelation.” But when the final curtain call is done and all the great reviews are folded, she wonders, “Am I really loved for me?”   It’s the question that never goes away—a deep uncertainty lingering beyond the money, power, skill or fame. And even well-meant promises from lovers, colleagues, friends and crowds don’t fill the emptiness within.   Jesus says, “I have loved you just as My Father has loved Me” (Jn 15:9). “God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them” (2 Cor 5:19). “God proves His love for us in tha
20/01/20222 minutes 43 seconds
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FIXING WHAT’S BROKEN (January 14, 2022)

If it were up to us, we’d save the world with money—lots of money—distributed to give each person food to eat and shelter from the storms.   If it were up to us, we’d save the world through education—teaching children how to read, filling schools and universities—for knowledge has advantages.   If it were up to us, we’d save the world by banning war—undoing arsenals, dissolving armies, teaching skills of compromise.   All these are good: we’ve tried them all. Yet still we wrestle—endlessly—with poverty, injustice, and the violence they breed. The vast inequities of life defy our grandest visions.   God says, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways” (Isa 55:8). He who knows us best and loves us most will save the world His way.   “For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). “God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while
13/01/20222 minutes 39 seconds
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UNRESOLVED (January 07, 2022)

The diet lasts a dozen days. The treadmill hasn’t spun 10 miles. The Bible sits where it was left, unopened and unsavored. We grieve the effortless unraveling of all the goals we wanted to achieve—to lose the weight; increase the steps; find hope and quiet in God’s Word.   We are too close to dreams undone, to lofty visions gone awry.   So how does God address our lack of grit and gratitude?   “I will be faithful to you and make you Mine, and you will finally know Me as the Lord,” God says (Hosea 2:20). “He knows our frame,” the psalmist says. “He remembers we are dust” (Psa 103:14).   And so Christ came, to walk our dust, to know our pain, to understand how irresolute we are. “This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for He faced all of the same testings we do, yet He did not sin” (Her 4:15).   Grace always moves toward us, redeems our goals, and tells us we are loved. We fall in step with One who holds us when we stumble. He is resolved when we are not, and fai
06/01/20222 minutes 15 seconds
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GENERATIONS OF GRACE (December 31, 2021)

The Earth, at least, has made an orbit—elliptical and brilliant, 600 million sprawling miles—since last we looked at January 1st. But there has been no grand trajectory to how we’ve lived the dimming year.   We’ve muddled through our COVID time with half a heart and frequent doubts. How much should we commit when everything seems tenuous, so capable of multiple bad endings? We dare not lean far forward: experience says we can’t lean back. Time gallops when we need it slow; it crawls when we are stuck and sore. Relationships still fray with distance; some are too far away, and some too close.   And so we turn to that one place that is both safe and full of grace: “Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations” (Psa 90:1).   When the story of our past is painful; When our future is unsure; Only God, who lives forever, Offers grace that will endure.   He who measures time by eons has no measure for His love. “I have loved you, My people, with an everlasting love,” the
30/12/20212 minutes 34 seconds
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COME ALL, COME NOW (December 24, 2021)

O come, all ye faithful, Joyful and triumphant, O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem.   But we are not all joyful; And we are not all faithful. “Triumphant” is a claim that stays A year or two—or ten—away. We’ve lost the cadence in our rhyme; We’ve lost the ones we loved to time Or dimming memory or disease— Where is this house of bread and ease? Yet still we tread with hope that clings; We murmur faith and barely sing On each hard day, through each dark night: “There is a God who makes things right.”   O come, ye worried and undone; O come, ye who have often run. O come, ye broken and confused; O come, ye bullied and abused. O come, when sin requires grace; O come, when you have missed the race. Yes, come, ye doubters, restless souls— This Child will live to make you whole.   So stay in grace. -Bill Knott
23/12/20212 minutes 1 second
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THE WISDOM OF GRACE (December 17, 2021)

A billion Christmas cards will picture them—these Magi, wise men from the East—with camels, sand, and one bright star. They traveled once to find a Child: we travel now to share our gadgets, eat too well, and put the fading year behind us.   But theirs’ was not a trip: it was a quest—a deep displacement of their lives because they guessed the Child they sought would heal their wounds; relight their skies; upend what they had previously called “wise.” They staked their reputations, privileges and wealth on finding One whose value system overturns the world. “He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption” (1 Cor 1:30).   “And they bowed down and worshipped Him” (Matt 2:11). Praise was the real gift they brought, for no one ever outgives grace.   Be wise this Christmas, even if you never move a mile. And stay in grace. -Bill Knott
17/12/20212 minutes 1 second
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ROOM AT THE INN (December 10, 2021)

The storybooks of Christmas brim with narratives of hidden visits and secret surveys of our kindness. In our extravagance and parties, Jesus visits those who bear His name disguised as a destitute old man, a homeless young woman, or a lonely child shut out from all the feasting and the revelry.   And we lower our heads, and promise to do better, and actually drop our extra change into the Salvation Army bucket when we leave the stores, laden with our gifts.   But the truest narrative of Christmas is about the gift of presence—God with us, for us—Immanuel who will not let us go. It is the gracious presence of our God we celebrate at Christmas: He walked our streets; He ate our food; He knew hard work and sweat and pain; He celebrated friendship.   Grace is the gift of presence, not of presents. Christ became a human to erase our loneliness, our fear, our dread. “His life brought light to everyone” (John 1:4).   Welcome Him—again—into the inn of your soul. And stay in grace.
10/12/20212 minutes 1 second
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THE SONG THAT MUST BE SUNG (December 03, 2021)

“Be safe,” uncounted angels urged, and watched with apprehension as the One who made them want to sing stepped down through light years and past planets to a home in Mary’s silent womb. It was the first time they had ever been without His joy. How would His strange descent to live among the broken, tragic, helpless race of humans—letting Himself be born as one of them—affect the ceaseless happiness of heaven?   And so they practiced for nine months, suggesting harmonies so rich and descants they had never tried, to craft a song—the perfect song—for that first night He would appear, an infant wrapped in birthing bands. They found from months of searching just the audience they wanted—sleepy shepherds in the fields—who never had heard music of that quality or kind.   And when the birth had happened, when months of pent-up chorusing became unstoppably joyous, they burst forth on the hills near Bethlehem: “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (Luke 2:
03/12/20212 minutes 29 seconds
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SIMPLE GIFTS (November 26, 2021)

If everything is owed to us; if every stream should flow toward us; if we imagine we must regularly be served—there will be nothing to be thankful for. And we will go our careless way to dominate, control, abuse. But if our lives are really gifts; if every breath is one more grace, then we are not what we achieve, but actually, the sum of all that’s given us. And we grow grateful for things great and small—for vast, majestic sunsets and for sweet warblers singing in the yard. We see the gift in toddlers’ smiles, and relish simple, joyful laughter. We savor food, remembering the many hands who served and toiled to bring this gift to us. We turn to colleagues and to friends with words that warm them, fill their hearts: “Thank you for the gift you are. I am so blessed to walk with you.” And if we live in faith, we turn to God and say from what is deepest in our lives—"Unseal my lips, O Lord, that my mouth may praise You” (Psa 51:15). “Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never
25/11/20212 minutes 20 seconds
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A PRESENT HELP (November 19, 2021)

Where is God when it hurts?   The question is painfully familiar. In every moment when we suffer, we raise our tearful eyes to heaven and ask what all this pain accomplishes.   Will warring nations come to peace because the children starve? Not likely. Will all the daily indignities of living without water and without wealth adjust the fairness of the planet? Not on any planet we know. Will sleepless nights and searing pain ensure some future happiness? There are no guarantees.   And does God know how much we hurt when bodies ache and hopes fall flat? “Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could He die, and only by dying could He break the power of the devil, who had the power of death” (Heb 2:14).   Jesus is God’s answer to the riddle of our pain. The One who made the universe came down to walk our roads and eat our food and feel our loss and cry our tears. He stands beside us; with us; o
18/11/20212 minutes 25 seconds
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LOOKING FOR SAFE (November 12, 2021)

Safe.   Perhaps you mean a metal-banded box, a vault—a walk-in, high-tech cave where wealth is stored. Perhaps you mean a spot on earth where threats are temporarily gone, where you can stretch out on the grass, fearing neither man nor beast.   Perhaps you mean a chosen friend, a spouse—a person who will hear your deepest hurts and never leave you by yourself.   You surely mean the covenanted God who is far bigger than our brokenness, our sin—who gathers up and fathers out to all who choose His open arms. “He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. The Lord is like a father to His children, tender and compassionate to those who fear Him” (Psa 103: 12-13).   For all His untamed love and unchecked power, our God is deeply and forever safe. “He never changes or casts a shifting shadow” (James 1:17).   Come home to safe. And stay in grace. -Bill Knott
11/11/20211 minute 49 seconds
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TRUSTWORTHY NEWS (November 05, 2021)

Beyond the screaming headlines; beneath the pundits’ withering analysis; above the daily outrage of our inhumanity to each other, there is a ceaseless broadcast of good news that outlasts every news cycle.   “For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Unlike so much we count as “news,” there’s nothing fake about it. No inflated facts or twisted meanings here: this is the calm, eternal truth about a God who won’t stop loving us, even when we’re most unlovable.   And on that day when this amazing news grabs your attention like headlines set in four-inch type, it will bring meaning, warmth, clear light and color like no blog or newsfeed ever has.   You are loved, and not just when your hair is combed and you’ve been living in between the lines. You are cherished by the God who welcomes prodigals back home, who goes in search of wayward sheep, whose “steadfast love endu
04/11/20212 minutes 15 seconds
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The first time we forgive a galling wound, we seem all noble, elevated, full of moral worth. Given how superior we feel, forgiveness seems its own reward.   The second, third, and fourth occasions remind us that forgiveness doesn’t always change the one who angers or offends us. The callous and insensitive may continue just as they were.   About the seventh time, we feel like fools—like 12-year-olds who discover Santa Claus was never real. Why should we keep forgiving when wounding doesn’t stop? Isn’t there a cut-off point when injuries continue? “‘No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!’” (Matt 18:22).   Forgiveness isn’t asked of us so we may feel wise and worthy. Forgiveness is cross-bearing, following Jesus deep into the world’s pain because this is the way God loves, even for the stony and hard-hearted. How many of us would be in grace if Heaven had drawn the line at seven, and left us to our fate thereafter?   The apostle Paul, who was so much forg
28/10/20212 minutes 29 seconds
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GRACE AND TRUTH (October 22, 2021)

“This is my faith,” we proudly say, and point to doctrines, dogma, sacred books. “These I believe,” we chorus as we sit in church, surrounded by the arsenal of arguments built up to counter unbelief.   But what is faith at 3:00 a.m. when worries gather in the dark like spiders on the ceiling? What is our trust when feverish loved ones groan and fret, and we feel helpless to relieve their pain?   The heart of faith is trusting in God’s unrelenting love, much more than lining up beliefs or getting answers to our prayers. To be assured of His affection—to know His hand on us, His salve for all our wounds, His quiet but all-kindly grace—this is the bond that makes faith powerful and real. “Be sure of this,” Jesus says. “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt 28:20). Christ is never absent.   The truths we teach are, at their best, descriptions of our trust in grace. The love we never earned and don’t deserve is lavished on us just because God’s heart is love.   Wh
21/10/20212 minutes 22 seconds
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GRACE AND SILENCE (October 15, 2021)

You know the moment—that instant when your heart hurts terribly from loss or grief. The air seems heavy, hard to breathe. Your mind crawls backward in the dark.   And blessedly, you may also know that moment when a wise friend, often without words, reaches out to hold you, fold you while you grieve.   That grip is grace, made real because the love and reassurance are real. It doesn’t yield in fine-tuned explanations or hang on eloquence. Sometimes the kindest comfort is the silence shared with one who will not let you go.   At its most basic level, the grace of God does not rely on words. The psalmist sang: “You have no equal. If I tried to recite all Your wonderful deeds, I would never come to the end of them” (Ps 40.5). The fact of Jesus, sent to us before He learned to speak a word, is proof enough that grace is first companionship—the knowledge that we’re never left alone, abandoned, or unloved. The wordless Word of God gave witness of the Father’s love before He ever preach
14/10/20212 minutes 24 seconds
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PERSISTENT GRACE (October 08, 2021)

We measure almost everything in life by big moments: “The day I got married.” “The week I started the new job.” “That instant on my first skydive when I jumped from the plane.”   Memorable as they are, big moments aren’t the real substance of our lives. It’s years of staying married that add value; the honest work that yields satisfaction month by month; the friends who walk with us across the years—who share the “ordinary” days.   The life of faith is like that too. It’s the dailiness of prayer that builds our joy and stamina—the hours of deep openness when “the love of God is spread abroad in our hearts” (Rom 5:5). Trust is built by time and distance shared. A thousand miles of undramatic journeys with Jesus are worth far more than brilliant, blazing moments.   “I have fought the good fight,” the apostle Paul told us. “I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim 4:7). Paul knew that there is grace at every marker, every signpost, every crossroad.   Keep running—o
07/10/20212 minutes 15 seconds
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UNSTOPPABLE (October 01, 2021)

“God is always disappointed with me.”   It’s the mumbled sentiment of many who aspire to a higher, wiser life. We know our failings far too well: we tell half-truths or flat-out lies; we use our power to dominate the weak; we abuse our bodies, as if they really were our own.   And we assume that God is always studying the gap between His law and our performance. Even on our best days, we don’t reach our own half-hearted expectations, never mind His call to holy living. And so we think our failings keep Him at long distance—continually frustrated with us.   But the gospel says God loves us differently. “ For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them” (2 Cor 5:19). Even when we lapse into our habits of shame and self-loathing, His attitude toward us remains unchanged: “God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him” (John 3:17).   “By grace”—by God’s unyielding affection for you—"
30/09/20212 minutes 15 seconds
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ALWAYS ON MY MIND (September 24, 2021)

Sometimes we have to choose to remember the good things.   So much of daily life is, as we say, “taken for granted.” We assume when we go to bed that our eyes will open in the morning. We don’t worry whether the car will start in the morning. We live our seasons believing there will be enough sun and rain to grow the grass and water the trees. Nothing out of the ordinary here.   But the Word of God urges us to actively remember that none of these things is guaranteed: each is the Father’s loving gift. When our happiness increases, His joy overflows. “Bless the Lord, O my soul,” the psalmist reminds himself, “and do not forget all His benefits—who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the Pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy” (Psalm 103 2-4).   It’s easy to take even amazing things for granted—like forgiveness, and healing, and grace. And while He is no less God whether we remember Him or forget His goodness, the choice t
23/09/20212 minutes 24 seconds
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REGIFTING GRACE (September 17, 2021)

“Love your enemies.”   It’s one of Jesus’ best-known statements—and one of the most misunderstood. The mere mention of those who hurt us, slandered us, or victimized us uncovers all our buried helplessness and anger. Our memories work too well: we can’t summon the will to overlook the painful past. The thought of one day loving those who wounded us seems just another of faith’s impossibilities.   And so we need a power greater than ourselves—which is just what we have received: “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us” (Rom 5:5). Only the gift of supernatural grace—the kind the Father has shown to us “while we were still sinners” (Rom 5:8)—can ever move us to reimagine our enemies as friends: “See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are” (1 John 3:1).   Our enemies are just as fully loved by God as we are. When we receive His gift of love, we learn, in time, to gift
16/09/20212 minutes 1 second
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THE ORIGIN OF FORGIVENESS (September 10, 2021)

It’s the fiercest rule of our culture: the greater the injury—the deeper the wound—the less likely that forgiveness will ever—ever—be offered.   When a friend forgets a lunch appointment or a colleague fails to meet a crucial deadline, we find a grudging grace to overlook the infraction. But if the angry words are public; if the damage done is measured in broken buildings or broken bones, our interest in forgiveness disappears.   We are so fortunate that God’s ways aren’t like ours. According to the Scriptures, we’re all complicit in the greatest injury to God the world has ever devised—the crucifixion of His Son. It was our sins—large and small, deliberate and impulsive—that whipped and beat Him, drove the nails, and pushed that thorny crown on Him. We mocked and taunted Him as He hung dying.   And yet, “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation” (2 Cor 5:19). Amazingly, “God did
09/09/20212 minutes 27 seconds
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THE HOPE OF CHANGE (September 03, 2021)

When we add up all our failings; when we see how frequently we fall, it seems we’ll never find the exit to this sad amusement ride. Our angers still routinely flare; our pride leaps higher day by day; our self-absorption is a carousel of serving just ourselves. The happiness we thought we’d find—in being kinder, wiser, gentler, free—feels always, always out of reach. We circle ‘round and ‘round: there is no merry to this ride.   We need an end to what we’ve been. With the apostle Paul we cry, “Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?” (Rom 7:24).   To all who hope for better things, the gospel speaks with clarity: “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in His grace, freely makes us right in His sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when He freed us from the penalty for our sins” (Rom 3:23-24).   Our past need not predict our future: grace abounds at every turn. “This High Pri
02/09/20212 minutes 27 seconds
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UNFAILING LOVE (August 27, 2021)

At the heart of why we struggle to understand the “otherness” of God is our assumption that He must be, in some sense, just a grander and more powerful version of us.   If we’re preoccupied with tomorrow, God must think of nothing else, for He controls tomorrow. If we’re sorrowful or angry when people disappoint us, God’s indignation must be multiples of ours. Because we find it hard to forgive, we think that He forgives reluctantly, and only when petitioned.   But God loves differently. “’For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord” (Isa 55:8). In the heart of God there’s an unquenchable affection for us, even when we’re anxious, even when we’re angry, even when we stumble at forgiving—or believing we’ve been forgiven. “Because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved” (Eph 2:4-5).   We know no one who loves like God—who
26/08/20212 minutes 22 seconds
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SWEET SONG OF GRACE (August 20, 2021)

Ask any skilled musician, and they’ll tell you everything begins with practice.   Behind the brilliant concert hall performance or the music video that goes viral lie a hundred—or a thousand—hours of tedious and undramatic practice. Cognitive skill, muscle memory, an adroit sense of timing, and a touch of interpretive expression meld, at last, into a moment that can soothe or challenge, inspire or amaze.   We practice who we want to be, even though on every day, our practice isn’t perfect. If we rehearse our injuries—the snubs we felt; the spite endured; the untrue things that made us weep—we build the tuneless selves that amplify the world’s dirge.   And if, through grace, we practice peace; if we rehearse transparency and love, the song of Moses and the Lamb becomes the music of our lives (Rev 15:3). We sing with those who celebrate; we comfort those who mourn a loss. We pass the trifling goal of sounding good, and actually start doing good. The grace that filled our dark with
19/08/20212 minutes 27 seconds
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AGAINST THE TIDE (August 13, 2021)

  My faith is but a sandy castle Trembling on the beach of time.   Many of us could write that line, or whisper it at least. We are awash in our mistakes—the hot words said; the things consumed; the foolish deeds that damaged health or wounded those we love.   On good days, we remember grace, and for some hours, the tide recedes. But then a wave of surging guilt erases faith’s small towers on our beach. Will nothing change this ebb and flow? So speak aloud the grace you know. Rehearse to someone good things God has done for you—the reconciliations made; the habits changed from bad to better; the kindness that you practiced until caring seemed like second nature. Through grace, your life is different than it was. And every difference that you voice will be a brick against the tide.   Faith grows by hearing, even when you listen to yourself. “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart —that is, the word of faith that we are proclaiming” (Rom 10:8).   Your faith is b
12/08/20212 minutes 5 seconds
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GRACE AND TRUTH (August 06, 2021)

It’s just a subtle shading of the truth, a slight deflection from the facts, that tempts us to dishonesty, especially with ourselves.   “I’m not so bad,” we say with evident relief when we remember tyrants, madmen, and the vicious from our history books. “My sins are nothing in comparison to theirs.” There are no obvious casualties from our mistakes, no line of grieving people who point to us as causing all their woe. And so we wrap our consciences with layers of white gauze, muffling what dissonance the Spirit stirs within us.   But God is moving in us for a reason: “Do you not realize that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” (Rom 2:4). Those qualms we feel when we adjust the truth or tell a lie or leave the wrong impression are actually sweet signs of hope. God cares enough about the truth that He will stir us till we let Him realign our reasoning. “You desire truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart” (Psalm 51:6).   In grace, God
06/08/20212 minutes 15 seconds
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Bill Knott Editorial - July/August, 2021: Grab Them by the Ears

Bill Knott is the Executive Editor/Director of Adventist Review Ministries
04/08/20213 minutes 54 seconds
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Bill Knott's GraceNotes: WALKING WITH THE GRACIOUS (July 30, 2021)

Some wit has cracked that there are just two kinds of people in the world: those you would go walking with, and those with whom you never would.   Simple as it seems, it helps us choose companions for the journey.   There are so many angry souls, exuding ego, spitting spite, who make an office hallway walk a journey of deep angst and fear. They have no patience for us fools; they scorn forgiving others’ sins; they call for justice, not for love. And yes, they always walk alone.   But there are others, touched by grace, who breathe the cleaner air of peace. With them, we’d walk around the world, or at least five times around the block. They listen better than they speak. They’re quick to heal, slow to challenge, offering the safety broken, wounded people crave. And no, they never walk alone. Grace teaches us with whom to walk, remembering that we were once alone, undone, and far from God. But now “you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and
29/07/20212 minutes 15 seconds
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Bill Knott's GraceNotes: GRACE AT RISK (July 23, 2021)

A host of proverbs in our culture urge the need for wariness: “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” “It is better to be a living dog than a dead lion.”   We learn the lesson while we’re young: don’t trust too much; forgive too much; believe too much; endure too much.   But what if God took such an attitude with us? What if heaven’s scorecard righteously declared, “One strike and you’re out”—or even “Three strikes and you’re out”? What if, instead of wounded love, the Father met the prodigal at the door with directions to the nearest halfway house? What if God insulated Himself against the likelihood of our repeated mistakes, our continuing folly, our headstrong rebellions?   The gospel couldn’t be clearer: “Love bears all things, believes all things, love hopes all things, endures all things (1 Cor 13:7). “But God proves His love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8).   Gr
23/07/20212 minutes 27 seconds
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Bill Knott's GraceNotes: WHEN GRACE WINS (July 16, 2021)

In the maelstrom of our age, when wars erupt, and tyrants strut, and treacheries abound, what place is there for grace? It seems a gentler, weaker virtue, made for temperate times.   But what could be stronger than the forgiveness that finally heals the blood feuds of the past, or thoughtfully agrees to end the decades lost to vengeance? Negotiated peace is still the longest-lasting kind.   And what is weak about the calm deliberation that stares stark evil in the eye and resolves to love it to death? Those who choose to lay aside their swords are those whom history blesses and God rewards. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God” (Matt 5:9).   Grace reverses all our estimates of power, for grace comes from God, and He rules everything. “God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And He chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful“ (I Cor 1:27).   When we choose grace, we c
15/07/20212 minutes 34 seconds
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Bill Knott's GraceNotes: FULL, RICH, AND FREE (July 09, 2021)

Does God love us more when we deny ourselves chocolate? Or raspberry ice cream? Or long, delicious afternoons in the backyard hammock? Ask some people of faith, and they’ll say “Yes”—and quote Jesus as the proof: “If any want to become My followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow Me.” But this is the same Jesus who went to weddings and banquets, laughed easily and often, spent afternoons playing with children, and frequently withdrew from the hectic pace of serving others to be renewed by peace and prayer and greenery. What needs denying—every day, in every way—isn’t the rightful enjoyment of life in the body for which we were created. It’s the ultimately ungodly idea that we can save ourselves, redeem ourselves, or work our way back into God’s favor by things we do—or don’t. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God” (Eph 2:8). Grace is all about deeper, joyful living. Jesus
08/07/20212 minutes 15 seconds
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Bill Knott's GraceNotes: THE GRACE WE GIVE (July 02, 2021)

How frequently do those around you fail?   The habit of noting—and recording—the mistakes our peers make every day is so ingrained that we now value it as proof of our discernment and greater moral value.   “She’s always late to work,” we say with obvious exasperation, secretly enjoying the superiority of our valued punctuality. “He‘s irritable,” we growl as some overwhelmed and unsupported colleague vents in an unwelcome way. Each stumble made by others somehow elevates us in this secret virtue war we’re waging.   And yet, we are undone—disheveled—when our full story comes before the only Judge who really matters. “If you, Lord, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you” (Psa 130:3-4). The grace and mercy of our God cannot be overpraised: “I will forgive their wickedness,” He says to all who turn to Him, “and I will never again remember their sins” (Heb 8:12).   God’s grace to us is meant to teac
01/07/20212 minutes 20 seconds
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Bill Knott's GraceNotes: BETTER THAN WE REMEMBER (June 25, 2021)

Why was that string around your finger?   Because you so much wanted to remember that you didn’t trust your ordinary powers. Or you wrote it on a note and taped it to your door. Or set three alarms so you didn’t miss the time.   We know how easily we forget even big, important things that undergird our lives—the faithful love of a committed spouse; our need to play with children; the gratitude for those who cherish us—and tell us so.   And the grace of God.   That’s why we must remind each other every time we can about the love that saves us; how good the gospel really is; why there’s great evidence for confidence about the future. Without such frequent—daily—calls to grace, we slide back into old and useless habits, thinking we must work our way into His love. “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (Eph 2:13).   We need reminders of God’s love, for we can never hear good news too often. Grace is the best thing to re
24/06/20211 minute 56 seconds
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Bill Knott's GraceNotes: THE POWER TO CHANGE (June 18, 2021)

Do you want a better life—a life of clarity and purpose, filled with strength and kindness?   We seek it on the self-help shelves of every dying bookstore, or hope to find new fire in our Kindles. A thousand authors sell us dreams of well-toned self-improvement, built on buying exercise equipment, attending costly seminars, finding confidence at work, and getting what we want in marriage.   They all assert a common fallacy—that we have untapped power in us, power to reinvent ourselves; energy and perseverance that never have shown up before; and disciplines that usually last like water-only diets.   There’s just one power that changes from within. And it’s a force from outside us—the grace of Christ who says He comes to live in us. Paul the apostle said it well: “It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me” (Gal 2:20). To believers Paul wrote: “I pray that, according to the riches of His glory, He may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with p
17/06/20212 minutes 29 seconds
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Bill Knott's GraceNotes: GETTING IT RIGHT (June 11, 2021)

We love being right so much we often get it wrong.   It’s sheer deliciousness to know more than someone else, to offer the correct answer when the teacher asks a question or the boss needs information. And when we have the final fact that vanquishes opponents, we bask in the warm glow of self-congratulation. I’m right; they’re wong. New verse; same song.   We relish moments when our rightness can’t be challenged. They feed our central narrative of righteous pride in who we are, how well we have prepared.   But imagine for a moment if Jesus had done similarly with us. He who made all things, including us, has at His fingertips and in His mind all facts, all truths, all righteousness. But still He stoops to welcome prodigals back home—ragged, dirty as we are, with wrong opinions and bad habits.   For Jesus, being right also means “being right with us”—reuniting us to the love that will not let us go: “In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespas
10/06/20212 minutes 29 seconds
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Bill Knott's GraceNotes: FINDING COMMUNITY (June 04, 2021)

Loneliness can last a long time.   The most persistent evidence of our woundedness is our sense of isolation. Whether we’ve blown it big or made some piercingly narrow mistake, we want to hide—withdraw—to keep our sin a secret. Broken and alone, we discover the trap we’ve fallen into—one that can grip us for days or even years. Like Adam and Eve in the original garden, we hide from the God who so much wants to heal us.   Enter a Saviour named Jesus. He joined two frustrated, lonely men for an afternoon walk on the very day of His resurrection (Luke 24:13-35). And He joins us even when our mistakes and pride keep us apart from the caring communities He’s trying to create around us. Grace builds circles of healing and support where we are never alone, never abandoned, and always embraced.   The road is never empty. Healing happens as we walk together.   So walk in grace. -Bill Knott
03/06/20212 minutes 8 seconds
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Bill Knott's GraceNotes: NO OTHER GOSPEL (May 28, 2021)

Line up 15 people, and ask each in turn to quietly repeat a simple, three-point story from one to the other. You know what happens: the story inevitably changes. We hear differently; our vocabularies aren’t the same; and some of us “improve” the story with elements uniquely ours.   So it is with the good news of salvation. Popular variations include: “You are saved by obediently following Jesus,” or “Jesus fills the gap between your effort and the expectations of God’s law.” Even the apostle Paul—just 30 years after Jesus’ resurrection—complained of “a different gospel” (Gal 1:6) that followed close behind his preaching and teaching, aimed at pulling new believers back into the clutches of legalism.   That’s why Paul wrote what we must constantly re-read: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God—not the result of works, so that no one may boast” (Eph 2:8). It takes great grace to not claim credit for what only Jesus cou
27/05/20212 minutes 29 seconds
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Bill Knott's GraceNotes: PROOF OF LIFE (May 21, 2021)

“I’m sorry for the tears,” he says with obvious embarrassment. “It’s just that I miss her so much.” He shields his eyes like the toddler he was 60 years ago, perhaps again imagining he can’t been seen behind his hands. We have it as a social rule that anything so personal as tears must stay discreetly out of sight. Others feel uncomfortable, we think, imagining that even those who know us well expect us to be dry-eyed in the face of loss. But tears and all that causes them are proof of life—of being fully human, blessed—yes blessed—with deep capacity to care, to feel, to love, to cherish. Our losses are no less a part of us than all our victories. Those who truly love us never struggle when we weep. The shortest verse in all the Bible—“Jesus wept” (Jn 11:35)—gives us the longest view of who He is. “This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do” (Heb 4:15). The prophet called Him a “man of sorrows, and acquainted with our gr
20/05/20212 minutes 39 seconds